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Gold, technology stocks lift markets in Toronto and the U.S. ahead of Q2 reports

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    TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index moved higher Monday as gold prices rose and North American markets digested news about a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

    The S&P/TSX composite index was up 60.18 points at 16,183.66, driven mainly by sentiment related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the chances it will continue to hurt the world economy for months to come.

    “You’ve got gold and technology both having very big days,” said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.

    “Every other sector on the TSX is literally negative and yet the market’s up. So it’s just those two sectors that have been carrying the market all year and they’re doing it again today.”

    The August gold contract was up US$7.40 at US$1,817.40 an ounce, a nine-year high, while silver reached a four-year high of US$20.33 an ounce.

    Markets were supported early Monday by hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine, although higher coronavirus case reports around the world capped gains.

    Oxford University, along with AztraZeneca, said their study of a vaccine showed a promising immune response in the more than 1,000 patients involved in its trials.

    In Toronto, the technology sector rose by just over three per cent driven by an 8.5 per cent increase in Shopfy Inc. shares, along with a 4.4 per cent jump by Kinaxis Inc.

    Meanwhile, Kinross Gold Corp. rose 3.5 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. was up 2.62 per cent as the materials sector rose 1.98 per cent.

    “People are obviously very, very concerned about the pandemic lasting a long time and having very negative effects on the economy. You’re going to want to go gold because of all the stimulus money being put out there that’s going to likely cause inflation,” said Currie.

    As for why the technology sector is performing well he said, “people are working from home. People are using platforms they’ve never used before. Companies are investing a lot of money in technology. Consumers are buying things.”

    Investors are concerned about impending news as second-quarter financial results head toward their peak in the next few weeks, he added.

    Big technology companies, meanwhile, powered stocks higher on Wall Street on Monday, placing the market on track to extend its gains after a three-week winning streak.

    The Dow Jones industrial average was up 8.92 points at 26,680.87. The S&P 500 index was up 0.84 points at 3,251.85, while the Nasdaq composite was up 263.90 points at 10,767.09.

    Citrix Systems and Amazon led the way in the S&P 500, each climbing more than seven per cent.

    Noble Energy climbed 5.7 per cent after the company agreed to be acquired by Chevron for US$5 billion.

    The Canadian dollar traded for 73.84 cents US on Monday compared with an average of 73.67 cents on Friday.

    The September crude contract was up 17 cents at US$40.92 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was down 7.7 cents at nearly US$1.64 per mmBTU.

    The September copper contract was up 1.1 cents at nearly US$2.92 a pound.

    This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2020.

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