Feb 10, 2020 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- Equity markets in Toronto had some spark on Monday as losses in energy shares were countered by a rally in consumer stocks led by Restaurant Brands International, while investors kept a wary eye on the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.
The TSX Composite Index pulled ahead 69.78 points to greet noon Monday to 17,725.27
The Canadian dollar lost 0.08 cents to 75.04 cents U.S.
Restaurant Brands rallied 3% after its quarterly results beat analysts' estimates on Monday, taking the consumer discretionary index up more than 1%. Tim Hortons parent triumphed 95 cents, or 1.1%, to $85.67.
The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Transalta Corp, which jumped 31 cents, or 3%, to $10.60, after an RBC upgrade to "outperform". Silvercorp Metals followed with a rise of three cents to $8.08.
Aurora Cannabis fell 18 cents, or 8%, the most on the TSX, to $2.08, after brokerage CIBC cut its price target for the stocks. The second biggest decliner was Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, down 7.5 cents, or 2.1%, to $3.425.
On the economic scene, January housing starts were fairly flat at 210,915 units in January, compared to 212,212 units in December, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, while building permits increased 7.4% to $8.7 billion in December.
Increases were reported in five provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec.
The TSX Venture Exchange slid 1.96 points into noon hour at 572.39.
All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were stronger, with gold brighter by 2%, materials better by 1.2%, and information technology picked up 0.8%.
The three laggards were weighed most by health-care, down 1.8%, energy, off 0.6%, and financials down 0.01%.