S&P/TSX composite index and U.S. indexes rise while oil prices and loonie swell

S&P/TSX composite index and U.S. indexes rise while oil prices and loonie swell

TORONTO — Stock markets in Canada and the United States closed higher Wednesday after a directionless day marked by low volumes and a lack of market-moving news.

The gains put markets back on positive footing following a modest pullback on Tuesday from record closes on American markets on Monday, which was a holiday in Canada.

The last trading day of the year is Thursday, New Year’s Eve.

Investors were comforted by positive pandemic news from around the world of more vaccine approvals and deliveries.

Britain authorized the use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University which is considered easier to store and handle than others hitting the market. China’s Sinopharm became the latest to release encouraging study results.

A quiet day was welcome considering there could have been steep declines from investors taking profits after the recent U.S. records, said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer of Purpose Investments, in an interview.

“The markets had such a good year and having it flat is probably a bit of a win right now because I think the big fear people have had in the market is that we get some profit-taking ahead of the New Year,” he said.

“It’s a non-event day. Not a lot going on in the market and I think it’s more everyone is getting ready for January and, I think, once we head into that we could see more volatility.”

On Wednesday in Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index closed up 2.38 points at 17,545.81.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 73.89 points at a new record of 30,409.56, while the Nasdaq composite also set a new high-water mark of 12,870.00, up 19.78 points.

The S&P 500 index was up 5.00 points at 3,732.04, short of its 3,735.36 close on Monday.

Investors are starting to anticipate the results of run-off elections in Georgia next week that could potentially determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

A win for the Democrats could “change the narrative,” Taylor said, making more likely the possibility of bigger stimulus checks, legalization of marijuana and new controls on technology companies and the energy sector.

Despite the small composite index gain, only four of the 11 sectors on the Toronto Stock Exchange were positive on Wednesday, led by mining, marijuana and energy companies.

The February gold contract was up US$10.50 at US$1,893.40 an ounce and the March copper contract was down less than a cent US at $3.55 a pound.

Meanwhile, the February crude contract was up 40 cents US at US$48.40 per barreland the February natural gas contract was down two cents US at about $2.42 per mmBTU.

“We’re bullish on energy heading into the New Year,” said Taylor.

“There’s still a lot of upside here and these companies aren’t really pricing in $50 oil. If we can get to a scenario where that happens, that could be really great environment for the Canadian economy.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.31 cents US compared with 78.09 cents US on Tuesday.

— By Dan Healing in Calgary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

The Canadian Press

Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer says its roundabouts have sharply reduced the number of injury collisions at a pair of busy intersections. Alberta Transportation wants to incorporate five roundabouts into plans to twin Highway 11 from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Highway 11 roundabouts will increase safety based on Red Deer’s experience

Injury collisions sharply reduced at roundabout intersections in city

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

Alberta reported an additional 643 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province now has… Continue reading

About 110 students from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in March for Life rally in Edmonton May 9. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school has COVID-19 case

St. Joseph High School in Red Deer confirmed a positive COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Lacombe High School logo.
Two more COVID-19 cases at Lacombe Composite High School

Lacombe Composite High School confirmed two more positive COVID-19 cases at the… Continue reading

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

There are two confirmed COVID-19 cases at Red Deer College. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Central Albertans were promised a university

Central Albertans were promised a university

Paramedics take away an elderly patient at the Tendercare Living Centre, long-term-care facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Blood thinners help moderate COVID cases and may reduce strain on ICUs, trials show

Blood thinners help moderate COVID cases and may reduce strain on ICUs, trials show

This image released by Baobab Studios shows an avatar representing actress Daisy Ridley, left, with her character, Magda, at the virtual reality premiere of her short film "Baba Yaga." It’s being called the first ever VR movie premiere. And consumers can experience the premiere space and the film now through Oculus Quest. (Baobab Studios via AP)
‘Baba Yaga’ introduces with a virtual reality movie premiere

‘Baba Yaga’ introduces with a virtual reality movie premiere

With new album, Epik High endures in South Korea music scene

With new album, Epik High endures in South Korea music scene

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a storefront window advertising after Christmas sales on Boxing Day in Montreal, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. Statistics Canada says retail sales climbed 1.3 per cent to $55.2 billion in November, rising for the seventh straight month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Retail sales rise 1.3 per cent to $55.2 billion in November as online shopping surges

Retail sales rise 1.3 per cent to $55.2 billion in November as online shopping surges

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Look past Keystone XL to areas of Canada-U. S. alignment, Trudeau suggests

Look past Keystone XL to areas of Canada-U. S. alignment, Trudeau suggests

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. The leader of a group promoting Indigenous participation in oil and gas development as a solution to poverty on reserves says the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline by President Joe Biden is a major setback. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Indigenous business coalition leader says Keystone XL denial will hurt communities

Indigenous business coalition leader says Keystone XL denial will hurt communities

Financial numbers are seen on the digital ticker tape at the TMX Group in Toronto, Ont.'s financial district on Friday, May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
S&P/TSX composite ends losing week down on faltering energy sector

S&P/TSX composite ends losing week down on faltering energy sector

Most Read