A man watches the financial numbers on the digital ticker tape at the TMX Group in Toronto's financial district on Friday, May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

North American markets rebound as Ukraine tensions appear to ease on Russian move

North American markets rebound as Ukraine tensions appear to ease on Russian move


TORONTO — North American stock markets bounced back on an apparent easing of geopolitical tensions in Ukraine with resulting weakness in commodities constraining the Canadian market gains.

Russia’s military reported pulling back some of its troops near Ukraine, signalling that the Kremlin may opt for a diplomatic path instead of an invasion of its neighbour.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 150.04 points to 21,502.55, a day after dropping nearly 200 points as anxieties ratcheted up as the West prepared for military action.

In New York, U.S. markets recovered from three days of losses with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining 422.67 points at 34,988.84. The S&P 500 index was up 69.40 points at 4,471.07, while the Nasdaq composite was up 348.84 points or 2.5 per cent at 14,139.76.

Energy and materials bucked the trend and were weaker as the price of crude oil and gold retreated.

“It’s the resources that are taking a bit of a breather so they’re retracing some of the gains last week. I think it’s in reaction to the possible easing geopolitical tensions,” said Crystal Maloney, head of equity research at CIBC Asset Management.

The March crude contract was down US$3.39 or 3.6 per cent at US$92.07 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 11.1 cents at US$4.31 per mmBTU.

Shares of Suncor Energy Inc. lost 1.6 per cent while Capstone Mining Corp. lost 3.6 per cent and Oceanagold Corp. fell 2.9 per cent on lower gold prices.

The April gold contract was down US$13.20 at US$1,856.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 2.4 cents at US$4.53 a pound.

Maloney said a risk premium was baked into the oil price.

“What we’re seeing is a bit of reversal of some of that premium maybe to a little bit more normal, neutral positioning on geopolitical risk,” she said in an interview.

As for gold, it is viewed as a hedge in uncertain times.

“It’s giving back some of that risk premium with the report that the Russian troops are returning to their bases.”

Maloney cautioned, however, that the situation could flip again if military risks grow since the whole situation remains unresolved.

Seven of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were higher on the day, led by health care, consumer discretionary, industrials and technology.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares climbed 7.6 per cent to lead the health care sector up 3.5 per cent.

Consumer discretionary moved up 2.3 per cent as shares of Canada Goose Holdings Inc. increased 6.4 per cent and Magna International Inc. was 4.0 per cent higher. Restaurant Brands International Inc. gained 3.7 per cent after reporting quarterly results that beat expectations.

Industrials was helped by Air Canada shares increasing 5.1 per cent after the federal government announced an easing of COVID testing and isolation rules for travellers.

Technology moved higher as Lightspeed Commerce Inc. surged 10.4 per cent and Hut 8 Mining Corp. was up 7.2 per cent. Shopify Inc. rose 5.0 per cent ahead of the morning release of its quarterly results.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq moved up after some parts of technology were oversold while semi-conductor names were aided by easing Russia-Ukraine tensions, said Maloney.

The heavyweight financials sector was supported by rising bond yields with 10-year U.S. treasuries moving up to 2.048 per cent.

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.36 cents US compared with 78.49 cents US on Monday.