S&P/TSX composite notches small gain led by energy stocks, U.S. markets fall

TORONTO — Strength in energy stocks helped Canada's main stock index eke out a small gain Thursday, while U.S. markets moved lower, led by weakness on the Nasdaq.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 57.20 points at 19,587.41.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 220.33 points at 33,891.94. The S&P 500 index was down 35.43 points at 4,347.35,while the Nasdaq composite was down 128.97 points at 13,521.45.

Wall Street lost some of its steam after last week’s rally, while Canadian markets were a little higher due to strength in financials and energy, said Les Stelmach, senior vice-president and portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Canada.

“Last week ... we saw kind of a pretty decent rally in some of the interest-sensitive names,” he said.

“This week, to a greater or lesser extent, they’re kind of giving some of that back.”

U.S. Treasury yields, which have recently been putting pressure on equities, rose after the government announced the results of a sale of 30-year Treasury bonds, and even further after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell that the central bank won’t hesitate to hike rates again if inflation isn’t under control.

As central banks on both sides of the border have indicated they’re near, if not at, the height of their interest rate hiking cycles, investors are now digesting the new normal for rates, said Stelmach.

“I think there’s a recognition that ... inflation is still sticky,” he added.

A summary of the Bank of Canada’s deliberations from its last interest rate decision indicated further interest rate hikes could still be on the table.

“That was a bit of a surprise,” said Stelmach.

As earnings continue to roll in, companies are adjusting to weaker consumer demand, said Stelmach, with retailers seeing the weight of interest rates and inflation affect how customers shop.

That was evident in earnings Thursday from Canadian Tire, said Stelmach.

The retailer announced it cut three per cent of its workforce as it reported a net loss of $66.4 million for its most recent quarter. It said customers are buying fewer items.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.56 cents UScompared with 72.48 cents US on Wednesday.

The December crude contract was up 41 cents at US$75.74 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down seven cents at US$3.04 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$12.00 at US$1,969.80 an ounceand the December copper contract was up less than a penny at US$3.64 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

The Canadian Press