Canadian market slightly down as interest rate remain unchanged

By on January 18, 2017

Canadian market slightly down as interest rate remain unchanged (Photo by Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0)
Canadian market slightly down as interest rate remain unchanged
(Photo by Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0)
TORONTO—Canada’s main stock market in Toronto finished lower for a third straight session on Wednesday, as decline in energy stocks along with the central bank’s decision to keep overnight lending rate the same contributed.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite slipped 43.51 points, or 0.28 percent, to finish the session at 15,397.85 points. Half of the ten sub-sectors ended the day lower.

Earlier in the day, Governor Stephen Poloz of Bank of Canada announced that the benchmark interest rate would remain steady at 0.5 percent, a decision that most expected.

During the decision making process, Poloz highlighted “uncertainty about the global outlook as undiminished, particularly with respect to policies in the United States” as the reason for their cautionary stance.

The governor and his team believe the anticipated cuts to corporate and personal tax percentages by United States President-elect Donald Trump will have a 0.5 percent benefit to the U.S. GDP by 2018. However, he expects Canada to only have a 0.1 percent uptick from this due to decrease in competitiveness from Canadian exports, increase in U.S. bond yields, and the recent relative strength of the Canadian dollar.

Benjamin Reitzes, Senior Economist at BMO Capital Markets, does not expect a change to the rate until next year, when a hike could occur.

“The Bank of Canada was as neutral as can be today, as the forecast has evolved largely as expected,” Reitzes write in a report. “The BoC looks like they could be on hold for some time, though the many uncertainties (U.S. policy in particular) could change things in a hurry. We continue to look for the next move to be a hike, but not until 2018.”

During the trading day, the TSX Energy group had the biggest impact, slumping 1.37 percent as crude oil prices fell for a second straight day. Price of March Brent futures retreated 2.27 percent to 54.19 U.S. dollars a barrel in London. Shares of Calgary-based energy firms Baytex Energy Corp. and Spartan Energy Corp. fell 4.70 percent and 3.65 percent, respectively.

Other groups to finish lower were: Materials (0.53 percent), Information Technology (0.25 percent), Utilities (0.20 percent), and Consumer Discretionary (0.15 percent).

Materials group, which is made up of producers of gold, precious metals, and raw materials, was down after the spot price of gold fell from a two-month high to 1,204.00 U.S. dollars an ounce, a 1.04 percent dip. The same weight of silver was also lower, closing at 17.02 U.S. dollars, a 0.93 percent decline.

Vancouver-based B2Gold Corp. shares declined 2.13 percent to finish at 3.67 Canadian dollars (2.77 U.S. dollars). Meanwhile, Toronto-based Yamana Gold Inc. took less of a hit, retreating 1.88 percent to 4.18 Canadian dollars (3.15 U.S. dollars) after operations in one of their Chilean mines resumed following a successful collective bargaining agreement.

Groups to finish ahead on the day included: Health Care (0.82 percent), Industrials (0.34 percent), Consumer Staples (0.32 percent), Telecommunications (0.16 percent), and Financials (0.16 percent).

Industrials group was led by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited stock rising 1.09 percent to 192.48 Canadian dollars (145.15 U.S. dollars) after the company announced that the company CEO would retire at the end of the month and be replaced by the company’s current President and Chief Operating Officer, an employee who has been with the firm for over 25 years.

Making news outside of the ten groups was Cameco Corporation, the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company. Shares of the Saskatoon-based firm plunged 16.92 percent to 14.39 Canadian dollar (10.85 U.S. dollars) after announcing changes to their 2017 forecasts which expects earnings to be ” significantly lower than analysts’ earnings estimates” due to the slumping spot price of uranium.

The company also announced plans to cut 120 jobs by the end of May.

The Canadian dollar slipped 1.17 cents to 0.7541 U.S. dollars.