TORONTO — Canada's main stock index posted a small gain Wednesday while U.S. stock markets were mixed after the latest report on inflation south of the border showed an acceleration in August.
U.S. inflation last month was 3.7 per cent year-over-year, up from 3.2 per cent in July.
All eyes were on the report as it's the last major economic data point before next week’s U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decision, said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments.
“There was some fear that we’d see a fairly material pickup in inflation,” he said.
The headline number was slightly higher than anticipated, pulled up by rising gas prices, but there was nothing in the report to change investors’ expectations for the Fed’s decision, said Taylor — the central bank is widely expected to hold its key rate. Expectations are still split on whether it will hold again or hike in November, he added.
“While (inflation) did pick up from where it was earlier in the summer, it wasn’t to the extent that’s really causing any panic,” he said.
Equities and bond yields reacted shakily at first to the higher inflation print before calming down throughout the day.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 55.86 points at 20,278.94.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 70.46 points at 34,575.53.The S&P 500 index was up 5.54 points at 4,467.44, while the Nasdaq composite was up 39.97 points at 13,813.58.
In Canada, discount giant Dollarama Inc. reported its profit rose 27 per cent in its latest quarter as consumers flocked to buy groceries and household products at its stores. The company also raised its fiscal full-year outlook.
There had been some concern leading up to Dollarama’s earnings release since other retailers reported “messy” results as Canadian consumers rein in their spending, said Taylor. But it’s clear the retailer is benefiting from that pullback as people trade down and hunt for bargains, he said.
Elsewhere, cannabis stocks gave back some of their recent gains as hope over the U.S. market waned, noted Taylor.
In the tech sector, two impending IPOs will be watched closely by investors, he said. Semiconductor company Arm Holdings Ltd. and grocery delivery company Instacart are both set to make their market debuts in the coming week, with Arm up first Thursday.
IPOs are less common during volatile economic times, said Taylor, and these are the first major tech IPOs so far this year. Their performances could set the tone for tech stocks for the rest of the month, he said.
The Canadian dollar traded for 73.80 cents UScompared with 73.75 cents US on Tuesday.
The October crude contract was down 32 cents at US$88.52 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was down six cents at US$2.68 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was down US$2.60 at US$1,932.50 an ounceand the December copper contract was up less than a penny at US$3.79 a pound.
— With files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)
Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press