TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index barely advanced Monday amid a quiet trading session while U.S. markets took the day off for Memorial Day.
In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index inched up 4.98 points to 15,421.91 as bank and industrial stocks made gains.
Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, says the financials sector is still benefiting from the strong earnings reported last week by most of Canada’s six biggest banks.
TD Bank (TSX:TD), Royal Bank (TSX:RY) and CIBC (TSX:CM) all reported positive results while the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) disappointed slightly.
“The earnings we got from the banks last week gave a little bit of comfort to the market,” said Fehr, noting recent concerns about Canada’s housing market.
“The banks still have the ability to earn through that environment,” he said. “That provides a little bit of support to the domestic market.”
Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) is slated to report Tuesday and National Bank (TSX:NA) is scheduled to release earnings on Wednesday.
The Canadian dollar climbed 0.05 of a U.S. cent to an average price of 74.37 cents US.
With Wall Street closed for Memorial Day, traders will return this week to a full slate of U.S. economic reports including the ISM index for U.S. manufacturing and U.S. private and official payroll numbers.
The reports will be carefully watched to see if employment and hiring is strong enough to continue to bolster the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plan to gradually raise interest rates again.
In electronic trading, the July crude contract was up 19 cents at US$49.99 a barrel and the July natural gas contract was down 10 cents at US$3.21 per mmBTU.
The June gold contract pulled back $1.60 to US$1,266.50 an ounce and the July copper contract was unchanged at US$2.57 a pound.