TORONTO — Canada's main stock index closed down Wednesday along with U.S. stock markets as investors continue to digest the potential for higher interest rates.
The S&P/TSX composite index started up, but ended down 69.41 points at 21,205.16 as financial, tech, and energy stocks fell.
“Most of the stocks across the board are down after starting the day pretty strong," said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.
The index was down despite strong gains for commodities, including the February gold contract closing up US$30.80 at US$1,843.20 an ounce and oil hitting a seven-year high as the March crude oil contract ended up 97 cents at US$85.80 per barrel.
“I'm a little bit shocked that Toronto’s down, just because it was such a good day for gold and oil overall," said Currie.
He said that the news for oil on the day was positive, including the price gains and the International Energy Agency forecasting higher demand, but that the drop in energy stocks may have just been profit taking after the TSX energy index gained 17 per cent so far this year.
Materials, however, was a bright spot, with the index up more than four per cent as both gold and copper prices rose. Big winners included Barrick Gold Corp. up 8.52 per cent, Yamana Gold up 8.19 per cent, and Kinross Gold Corp. up 7.86 per cent.
The gold price was likely boosted by some slackening of bond yields, said Currie.
“The 10 year yield in the U.S. for several days now has had a really really good start, and it’s had a little bit of a pullback today, so that has definitely helped gold.”
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 339.82 points at 35,028.65. The S&P 500 index was down 44.35 points at 4,532.76, while the Nasdaq composite was down 166.64 points at 14,340.25 points.
The Canadian dollar traded for 80.05 cents US compared with 79.81 cents US on Tuesday on a day that Statistics Canada reported an annual inflation of 4.8 per cent in December to reach the highest level in 30 years.
The high inflation rate had economists predicting the Bank of Canada could start raising interest rates as soon as next week with several more increases expected this year.
The February natural gas contract was down 25 cents at US$4.03 per mmBTU, and the March copper contract was up nine cents at US$4.47 a pound.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022.
Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)
The Canadian Press