TORONTO — Climbing gold and resource stocks helped push Canada’s largest stock index higher Monday as it finished ahead of its U.S. counterparts.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index climbed 63.55 points to 15,506.22.
One of the stocks with the biggest movements of the session was Quebec-based aerospace company Heroux-Devtek after it reported its bid for a new contract with the U.S. military was rejected. Shares in Heroux-Devtek (TSX:HRX) closed down 9.3 per cent to $11.52 on the TSX after reaching a 52-week low of $11.06.
Meanwhile, indexes were mixed in New York as investors questioned whether U.S. President Donald Trump will be able to execute on his pro-growth plans after last week’s failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 45.74 points to 20,550.98, the S&P 500 index lost 2.39 points to 2,341.59 and the Nasdaq composite index was ahead 11.63 points to 5,840.37.
Wall Street had been down sharply at the open, but pared its losses by mid-day.
Canadian markets strategist Craig Fehr said the Trump rally that was kicked off with the Republican candidate’s win in mid-November has been built on expectations that his agenda of tax cuts and massive infrastructure spending will get passed.
Last Friday was an indicator that this may not be as easy as first thought.
Even so, Fehr, who works at Edward Jones in St. Louis, doesn’t think investors should panic yet that the current bull market is nearing the finish line.
“It’s really a reflection in my opinion of just how strong and steady the markets have been when a one or two per cent pullback now is being perceived as harbinger of what’s to come,” he said.
“Economic growth combined with a rebound of corporate earnings combined with still low levels of interest rates is a pretty strong recipe for a continuation for this bull market. It just wont be as smooth as we have come to enjoy recently.”
In currencies, the Canadian dollar was trading at 74.76 cents US, up 0.02 of a U.S. cent.
Oil prices, which usually trades in tandem with the loonie, were lower. The May crude contract was down two cents at US$47.73 per barrel after OPEC said over the weekend it was open to extending its current production cuts by another six months.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in late November to cut its production by 1.2 million barrels a day, the first reduction agreed to by the 14-member cartel since 2008. Eleven other non-OPEC oil-producing countries pledged in December to cut an additional 558,000 barrels a day, reaching an overall reduction of 1.8 million barrels per day.
In other commodities, May natural gas contracts lost two cents at US$3.13 per mmBTU, the April gold contract was up $7.20 at US$1,255.70 an ounce and May copper contracts were unchanged at US$2.63 a pound.