Energy stocks fail to lift Toronto market, U.S. markets pare recent gains - InfoNews

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Energy stocks fail to lift Toronto market, U.S. markets pare recent gains

Financial numbers flow on the digital ticker tape at the TMX Group in Toronto's financial district on May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
April 11, 2018 - 2:00 PM

Canada's main stock index ended down slightly Wednesday despite strong gains in energy and gold stocks, while U.S. markets retreated from a rally a day earlier.

The rise in energy stocks came as the price of oil hit its highest level since December 2014 on concerns of instability in the Middle East, said Kathryn Del Greco, vice president and investment advisor at TD Wealth.

"We're actually seeing some risk-off trade, as geopolitical concerns between Donald Trump and Russia and Syria seem to be escalating. And I think that's got people thinking a bit more nervously about what kind of environment we're in."

The rise in the oil price, with the May crude contract closing up US$1.31 at US$66.82 per barrel, came after Trump tweeted that the U.S. will launch missiles at targets in Syria in response to the recent suspected chemical attack in a rebel-held area that killed at least 40 people.

The tensions have raised concerns that an intervention could disrupt oil supplies, leading investors to look to safe havens, said Del Greco.

"Where you are seeing strength are in names that would be considered safe plays in volatile times, such as energy stocks and in particular gold stocks are rallying the most today."

Overall, the S&P/TSX composite index closed down 4.24 points at 15,257.90, weighed down by financial and base metal stocks. The S&P/TSX capped energy index had gains of 1.83 per cent and the S&P/TSX global gold index was up 2.19 per cent.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 218.55 points at 24,189.45. The S&P 500 index ended down 14.68 points at 2,642.19 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 25.27 points at 7,069.03.

U.S. stocks had seen gains on Tuesday as Chinese President Xi Jinping made steps to ease trade tensions between China and the U.S., while Trump's focus on the Middle East has further dampened trade fears in the near term at least, said Del Greco.

The Canadian dollar averaged 79.47 cents US, up 0.22 of a US cent thanks in part to the rise in oil prices.

The May natural gas contract ended up two cents at US$2.68 per mmBTU.

The June gold contract closed up US$14.10 at US$1,360 an ounce and the May copper contract was down two cents at US$3.12 a pound.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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