Falling energy prices drag down the TSX
TORONTO — Weakness in oil and gas shares weighed on Canada’s largest stock index Thursday as the loonie made a minor advance on the U.S. dollar.
The Toronto Stock Exchanges’s S&P/TSX composite index retreated 58.20 points to 15742.20, with the energy sector leading decliners with losses of 1.65 per cent.
The November crude contract was down 70 cents to $50.60 US per barrel.
“Any time oil crosses over the $50 US mark, you know that there are producers out there that are hedging,” said Jillian Bryan, vice-president at TD Wealth Private Investment Advice. “That has the effect of putting a lid on energy prices so they don’t run even further.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that U.S. crude exports had jumped to 1.98 million barrels per day, marking the fourth weekly increase.
South of the border, stocks were little changed Thursday as weakening bank shares saw Wall Street slip into negative territory.
The Dow Jones industrial average gave back 31.88 points to 22841.01. The S&P 500 index inched down 4.31 points to 2550.93 and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 12.04 points to 6591.51.
“We had JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup kicking off earning season and, basically, their performance was somewhat muted, so that’s the reason U.S. markets are down a little bit today,” said Bryan.
While JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both did better than analysts expected, their stocks lost ground. Citigroup fell $2.31, or 3.1 per cent, to $72.63 US and JPMorgan Chase gave up 96 cents, or 1.0 per cent, to $95.88 US. Other banks also slipped.
U.S. bank stocks have made big gains over the last month, with companies reporting good results from their consumer banking businesses, but other divisions didn’t do as well.
In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 80.18 cents US, up 0.17 of a cent.
Elsewhere in commodities, the December gold contract advanced $7.60 to $1,296.50 US an ounce.
The November natural gas contract was up 10 cents at $2.99 US per mmBTU, and the December copper contract gained two cents at $3.12 US a pound.