North American equity markets rallied into the end of Thursday’s trade, as the prospects for U.S. stimulus to support the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and a continued stream of corporate earnings lifted markets. The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 0.47 per cent, the S&P 500 rose 0.64 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.68 per cent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index outperformed with a 1.0-per-cent gain to post a new record close north of the 11,000 point mark.

Another strong showing from the tech titans helped power the Nasdaq higher, with Apple Inc. extending its rally to a seventh straight session. Shares of the iPhone-maker have gained more than 22 per cent over that time, putting the company within US$52 billion of becoming the first American company to eclipse US$2 trillion in market capitalization.

The S&P 500’s rocket run higher has it less than 1.2 per cent away from hitting a new all-time high, while Toronto’s TSX Composite is about 7.6 per cent shy of its record set in February.

In Toronto, eight of the 11 TSX subgroups finished higher on what was one of the busiest days on the quarter on the earnings calendar, led by industrials, energy and communications services.

The industrial strength was an earnings story, with Cargojet Inc. and its 15.79-per-cent gain leading the way. The freight carrier easily topped analyst expectations in its second quarter, with the surge of e-commerce shipping growth offsetting some weakness in business-to-business shipments.

Just behind were shares of Badger Daylighting Ltd., which rose 12.74 per cent after the company posted a surprise profit in its second quarter. The company, which uses pressurized water for excavating around sensitive infrastructure projects like pipelines, said that while the COVID-19 crisis has impacted revenues, it is tracking to achieve 85-90 per cent of the revenues booked last year.

The materials group was led higher by shares of Pretium Resources Inc., which finished the day as the top performer on the composite with a nearly-26-per cent gain. The company posted strong results from its Brucejack mine in Northwestern British Columbia, where it drove all-in-sustaining-costs-per-ounce down to US$910 in the second quarter.

On the flip side, health care, consumer discretionary stocks and materials were the worst performers on the index, the sole sectors to finish the day in negative territory.

The strong performance Bausch Health Companies Inc. shares wasn’t enough to offset weakness in the cannabis sector. Bausch shares rose nearly four per cent after the company formerly known as Valeant Pharmaceuticals announced plans to spin off its eye-care business. Meanwhile, shares of Cronos Group Inc. plunged nearly 16 per cent after the company booked a weaker-than-expected quarter, while industry heavyweights Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. also finished the day lower with the overall sector.

Oil prices finished modestly lower, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate declining nearly half a per cent to US$41.99 per barrel, though that remains near a five-month high. Alberta’s Western Canadian Select slipped 0.8 per cent to US429.91 per barrel.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.2 cents against its American counterpart to 75.15 U.S. cents.