Toronto stocks close up slightly, loonie up; U.S. stock markets mixed


TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index closed modestly higher along with the loonie, while U.S. markets were mixed as Boeing Co.’s stock weighed on the Dow.

The big U.S. manufacturer slipped for a second day as the fallout from a second deadly crash in recent months involving its 737 Max 8 aircraft spread further.

“The big story today continues to be the escalation of concerns related to Boeing 737 Max aircraft,” said Natalie Taylor, portfolio manager at CIBC.

While regulators across much of the world moved to ground the aircraft, the U.S. expressed faith in it and Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Tuesday that Canada had no plans to ground the plane.

The uncertainty created by the situation weighed on airline stocks generally, said Taylor.

“This is having an impact not only on Boeing, which is down another six per cent, similar to what we saw yesterday, but just the entire airline industry, and in Canada that’s impacting Air Canada and WestJet.”

Air Canada, which has 24 Max 8 aircraft, closed down 3.96 per cent, while WestJet, which has 13 of the aircraft, closed down 3.21 per cent.

The share price drops helped push down the S&P/TSX industrials index by 0.76 per cent to be second only to the consumer discretionary index for losses on the day.

Most sectors, however, saw modest gains to lead the S&P/TSX composite index to close up 30.42 points at 16,136.66.

Materials had the biggest gains at 1.26 per cent as key commodities rose. The April gold contract ended up US$7 at US$1,298.10 an ounce and the May copper contract was up three cents at US$2.93 a pound.

“Generally commodities are up, and that would include energy, I think that’s just a continuation of the momentum that we’ve been seeing in the market,” said Taylor.

The April crude contract closed up eight cents at $56.87 per barrel and the April natural gas contract up a penny at US$2.78 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar averaged 74.75 cents US compared with an average of 74.55 cents US on Monday.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 96.22 points at 25,554.66 as Boeing weighed. The S&P 500 index was up 8.22 points at 2,791.52, while the Nasdaq composite was up 32.97 points at 7,591.03.

U.S. data that showed inflation was low helped boost stocks since it lessened the chances of the U.S. Fed raising interest rates, said Taylor.

U.K. lawmakers voted down the latest Brexit proposal, but Taylor said she expected little impact on North American markets.

“I think there’s a bit of fatigue in the market related to Brexit headlines.”



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


The Canadian Press


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