Apr 08, 2020 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- Stocks in Canada's biggest markets kept their winning streak going by noon EDT on Wednesday, lifted by energy shares tracking stronger oil prices, while hopes that the coronavirus outbreak could be peaking in the United States helped broader sentiment.
The TSX Composite Index progressed 195.76 points, or 1.4%, at 13,809.90,
The Canadian dollar nosed ahead 0.07 cents to 71.41 cents U.S.
The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Intertape Polymer Group Inc, which jumped $1.80, or 17.9%, to $11.87, after the packaging company maintained its outlook. Seven Generations Energy rose 23 cents, or 10.3%, to $2.47.
Hexo Corp slumped 23 cents, or 24%, the biggest percentage decliner on the TSX, to 73 cents, after it priced a $40-million public offering. Meg Energy was down five cents, or 1.8%, to $2.80.
Economically speaking, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported housing starts registered at 195,200, compared to the expected 172,500, and to 210,100 in February.
Statistics Canada said building permits decreased 7.3% to $8.6 billion in February, driven by the residential component. Declines were reported in five provinces, with the largest decrease reported in British Columbia (-39.2% to $1.3 billion).
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will keep up efforts to persuade the U.S. not to block the export of medical supplies to fight the coronavirus, while Alberta warned of an economic disaster.
The TSX Venture Exchange gained 2.87 points to 405.42.
Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups reached noon in plus territory, with consumer discretionary stocks ahead 4.1%, real-estate stronger 3.7%, and health-care up 3.3%.
The four laggards were weighed most by communications, down 0.6%. consumer staples, fading 0.5%, and gold, off 0.2%.
Stocks surged on Wednesday after Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, relieving some of Wall Street's political concerns.