Falling Canadian dollar coins or loonies are pictured in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

TSX sets record, loonie soars to three-year high on strong jobs report

The Canadian dollar traded for 80.04 cents US

Strong employment numbers for February propelled the Canadian dollar to a three-year high while the TSX climbed for a sixth-straight day to set another record close.

The Canadian dollar traded for 80.04 cents US after hitting an intraday high of 80.26, compared with 79.61 cents US on Thursday.

“Everything’s firing on all cylinders for the Canadian dollar this week. It’s literally up four days in a row,” said Erik Bregar, head of currency strategy at the Exchange Bank of Canada.

Sentiment was buoyed Friday by “blowout” Canadian jobs numbers, he said.

The Canadian economy added 259,000 jobs last month, whipping past expectations to pull the country closer to pre-pandemic employment levels.

One year into the pandemic, Canada’s job market is 599,100 jobs short of where it was in February of last year, or 3.1 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

“That was some icing on the cake for our Canadian dollar,” Bregar said in an interview.

He said the loonie could climb higher if stock markets and global oil prices continue to rise.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see us at the 83 cents mark if the S&P and WTI continue higher over the next three months,” Bregar wrote in a recent email. That level hasn’t been reached since May 2015.

The stronger currency would be good for cross-border shoppers if it weren’t for the fact that the border with the U.S. is closed and airlines have cut service at the government’s request to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Still, Canadians can prepay for holidays or purchase and save U.S. dollars for the eventual trip.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down for most of the day but inched up 6.75 points to a record close of 18,851.31 after hitting an intraday low of 17,297.75.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 reached record closes with the 30-stock Dow up 293.05 points to 32,778.64. The S&P 500 index was up 4.0 points at 3,943.34, while the Nasdaq composite was down 78.81 points at 13,319.8.

Markets were down for most of the day as U.S. 10-year bond yields hit a high of 1.642 per cent. Bregar said yields rose on news that primary dealers sold a record amount of treasuries in the week ending March 3.

He said there’s some nervousness about the expiry on March 31 of some regulatory exemptions that allowed banks to horde U.S. treasuries without affecting some leverage ratios.

“I think that’s what’s made overall risk sentiment a little bit softer today,” Bregar said.

He said the stock market doesn’t seem to mind increasing yields as long as the increases are “slow and manageable.”

“What it freaks out about is when it happens too quickly.”

Financials, energy and materials were among the sectors that rose on the TSX.

Energy was up slightly despite lower crude oil prices with shares of Vermilion Energy Inc. up 2.6 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. 1.7 per cent higher.

The April crude oil contract was down 41 cents at US$65.61 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was down 6.8 at US$2.60 per mmBTU.

Materials rose slightly even though gold was lower.

The April gold contract was down US$2.80 at US$1,719.80 an ounce and the May copper contract was up one tenth of a cent at US$4.14 a pound.

BlackBerry Ltd. gained 10.8 per cent to move technology up while Lightspeed POS Inc. rose 6.9 per cent after announcing another acquisition late Thursday.

North American stock markets ended the week higher despite initial concerns about inflation that ended up being benign.

The TSX gained 2.6 per cent to increase 8.1 per cent so far in 2021. The S&P 500 was also up 2.6 per cent on the week, the Dow 4.1 per cent and Nasdaq 3.1 per cent.

economy

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Millstone River in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Regional district looks at value of Nanaimo’s natural assets

Report focused on the Millstone River could inform future decisions on corporate asset management

Protesters gather along the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in downtown Nanaimo last month as part of an event called Worth More Standing. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: B.C. hasn’t managed forests properly

Protesters opposing logging in Fairy Creek speak for many British Columbians, say letter writers

Nanaimo singer Victoria Vaughn recently released an EP with local producer Austin Penner. (Photo courtesy Taylor Murray)
Nanaimo singer and recent VIU grad releases EP about becoming an adult

Victoria Vaughn’s ‘Growing Pains’ recorded with local producer Austin Penner

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Air Canada, Harbour Air flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Rebates through Clean B.C.’s Better Homes New Construction program are available, says the City of Nanaimo. (Vancouver Island University photo)
Energy-efficient home builds in Nanaimo eligible for up to $15K in rebates

All building permits issued on, or after, April 1, 2020 eligible, says City of Nanaimo

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Noel Brown, Snuneymuxw First Nation carver, observes the house post he carved, which now is situated in front of the Kw’umut Lelum centre on Centre Street in Nanaimo. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
House post representative of work of Kw’umut Lelum in Nanaimo

Snuneymuxw First Nation artist Noel Brown’s carved red cedar house post unveiled Friday, April 16

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read