Toronto stock market resumes upward move while U.S. markets surge
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 21, 2019 11:34AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 21, 2019 4:53PM EDT
TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index resumed its upward trajectory as investors responded to supportive news on both sides of the border.
Investors appeared to have had a delayed positive reaction to Wednesday’s dovish outlook by the U.S. Federal Reserve. And that was followed by good jobs and wholesale trade numbers in Canada, said Anish Chopra, managing director with Portfolio Management Corp.
“What you have at the end of the day is a supportive Federal Reserve, which is generally positive for markets,” he said in an interview.
The U.S. central bank said it doesn’t expect interest rate increases in 2019 and only one in 2020. It also surprised observers by announcing that it will stop scaling back its bonds portfolio in September, instead of in December.
ADP’s latest report on Thursday said Canada added 36,200 jobs in February while Statistics Canada said wholesale trade increased by 0.6 per cent in January, above analyst expectations.
“So not only do you have supportive central banks, especially with the news coming out of the Fed, but you’ve got positive economic data in Canada as well,” added Chopra.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 77.03 points to 16,244.59, after hitting an intraday high of 16,266.47. That’s just short of the 2019 high set Tuesday.
Nine of the market’s 11 major sectors posted gains, with the exception of cannabis-heavy health care and financials. Lower interest rates and flattening yield curves make it harder for banks to be as profitable.
Leading the market were the industrials and technology sectors.
The central bank’s stance supports industrial earnings while Canada’s small technology sector followed the upswing in the U.S. market as Apple Inc. gained 3.7 per cent, said Chopra.
The TSX composition index was led by Shopify Inc. and Canadian Pacific Railway.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 216.84 points at 25,962.51. The S&P 500 index was up 30.65 points at 2,854.88, while the Nasdaq composite was up 109.99 points at 7,838.96.
The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 74.82 cents US compared with an average of 75.09 cents US on Wednesday.
The May crude contract was down 25 cents at US$59.98 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was up one tenth of a cent at US$2.82 per mmBTU.
The April gold contract was up US$5.60 at US$1,307.30 an ounce and the May copper contract was down 1.5 cents at US$2.91 a pound.