Toronto market edges up as U.S. stocks higher; Canadian dollar moves lower - InfoNews

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Toronto market edges up as U.S. stocks higher; Canadian dollar moves lower

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 12, 2018 - 2:04 PM

Canada's main stock index closed up slightly Thursday as oil prices continued to rise, while U.S. markets saw strong gains.

The positive day on the markets came in a lull in news from the trade and security disputes that have roiled markets recently, said Kash Pashootan, CEO and chief investment officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc.

"We've had a buildup of political uncertainty in the United States on what's going to happen in Syria, and really just what we've seen with NAFTA and trade wars, so there's been no shortage of uncertainties that can lead to meaningful disruption from an economic and market perspective.

"On a day like today, we're finding the question marks around those items still exist, but we're not seeing any sort of development in a negative manner that's been pushing those agendas forward. So the market is taking some relief in regards to that and we're seeing a relief rally take place," he said.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 11.37 points at 15,269.27, as minor gains in energy stocks were countered by declines in mining stocks.

Energy stocks climbed as the May crude contract ended up 25 cents at US$67.07 per barrel to rise again after hitting a more than three-year high a day earlier, while the May natural gas contract closed up one cent at US$2.69 per mmBTU.

Metal stocks, however, were down as the June gold contract slipped US$18.10 at US$1,341.90 an ounce and the May copper contract was down six cents at US$3.06 a pound.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average ended up 293.60 points at 24,483.05. The S&P 500 index closed up 21.80 points at 2663.99 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 71.22 points at 7,140.25.

U.S. stocks were also boosted as first quarter earnings season approaches, and investors anticipate the higher profits that are expected to be reported following tax cuts late last year, said Pashootan.

"As we head into earnings season, you're seeing the market start to price in that optimism."

The Canadian dollar averaged 79.39 cents US, down 0.08 of a US cent.

The loonie has seen a fairly steady climb from a mid-March dip, but Pashootan said he expects future pressure on it from trade fears even if a NAFTA deal is reached.

"Regardless of the outcome of NAFTA, Canada will be in a worse position than they are now, and as a result, you will see a high probability of downside on the Canadian loonie."

And while Canadian stocks aren't getting a boost from expected earnings, companies continue to be active ahead of the cannabis legalization slated for this summer.

Second Cup said Thursday it had signed a strategic alliance with marijuana clinic operator National Access Cannabis to convert some of its coffee shops into cannabis dispensaries. The company's share price climbed 28.73 per cent to $3.54 on the TSX on the news.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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