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North American stock markets flat after strong start to November

TORONTO — North American stock markets were relatively flat midweek after a strong start to the month of November. The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 63.72 points or 0.38 per cent at 16,745.64.
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TORONTO — North American stock markets were relatively flat midweek after a strong start to the month of November.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 63.72 points or 0.38 per cent at 16,745.64.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.07 points at 27,492.56. The S&P 500 index was up 2.16 points at 3,076.78, while the Nasdaq composite was down 24.05 points at 8,410.63.

Markets were stable despite some concerns that the signing of phase one of a trade deal between the U.S. and China could be delayed until December.

The market activity on the day was pretty positive because it follows several days of setting record highs in the U.S., said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.

"If the worst we come out with is a flat day it's still pretty good," he said in an interview.

"We're still up nicely for the month, nicely for the quarter and a strong year so just a bit of breather day, probably just some little uncertainty about the trade deal."

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.88 cents US compared with an average of 76.03 cents US on Tuesday.

Nine of the 11 major sectors on the TSX closed higher led by consumer staples. It was helped by a 2.9 per cent increase in shares of Alimentation Couche-Tard, followed by Metro Inc. and Loblaw Companies Ltd.

Materials rose on higher gold prices and gains from miners including B2Gold Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp., which  raised its quarterly dividend by a penny to a nickel per share as it reported a third-quarter profit boosted by a one-time gain related to its Turquoise Ridge mine.

However, Semafo Inc. shares plunged 11 per cent after at least 37 people were killed and 60 injured in an attack on a road to its Boungou Mine site in Burkina Faso.

The December gold contract was up US$9.40 at US$1,493.10 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 3.55 cents at US$2.66 a pound.

The energy and health care sectors fell with energy being dragged down by lower crude oil prices as U.S. crude inventories increased by 7.9 million barrels, well above forecasts of 1.5 million.

"That's a pretty huge jump so even if you're kind of a bear on oil you've got to be shocked by that number," said Currie.

The December crude contract was down 86 cents at US$56.35 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down 3.4 cents US$2.83 per mmBTU.

Shares of Crescent Point Energy Corp. and Encana Corp. were down five and 3.15 per cent respectively.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CPG, TSX:ECA, TSX:SMF, TSX:BTO, TSX:ABX, TSX:ATD.B, TSX:MRU, TSX:L, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press



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