Canadian dollars are pictured in Vancouver, Sept. 22, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

S&P/TSX composite slips on pressure from lower crude prices and bond yields

S&P/TSX composite slips on pressure from lower crude prices and bond yields

TORONTO — Lower crude oil prices and a further dip in bond yields hurt two of the bigger sectors on Canada’s main stock index and sent it slightly lower midweek.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 9.43 points to 20,290.60 despite hitting a record intraday high in earlier trading.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 104.42 points at 34,681.79. The S&P 500 index was up 14.59 points at 4,358.13, while the Nasdaq composite was up 1.42 points at 14,665.06. The S&P and Nasdaq both posted record closes after setting new all-time highs.

The composition of the Canadian and U.S. markets accounted for their diverging paths, said Michael Greenberg, portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Investment Solutions.

Financials and energy, two of the Canadian market’s largest sectors, dropped while technology, which powers two U.S. markets, was stronger south of the border but down in Canada.

“Clearly energy is not having a great day,” Greenberg said in an interview. “Tech tends to do well when you have kind of bond yields down, yield curve flattening, and of course that’s a much bigger part of the U.S. market versus Canada.”

The energy sector lost 2.2 per cent as crude oil prices fell a day after hitting a near six-year high.

The August crude oil contract was down US$1.17 at US$72.20 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was down 4.1 cents at US$3.60 per mmBTU.

Crude prices have run up lately on uncertainty about supply over a disagreement among OPEC members and a stronger medium-term outlook for demand as economies reopen. It fell Wednesday pushing MEG Energy Corp and Crescent Point Energy Corp. each down 4.9 per cent.

The Canadian dollar traded for 80.16 cents US after dipping below 80 cents and compared with 80.35 cents US on Tuesday.

The heavyweight financials sector dropped as bond yields dropped in a sign that the recovery may slow, hurting the ability of banks to make money from net interest margins. The U.S. 10-year bond yield fell to 1.323 per cent.

Increased vaccination rates are helping to propel economic reopenings as more lockdowns are ending. But the rise of COVID-19 variants makes the economy susceptible to a temporary slowdown.

“The wind is coming out of the sails a little bit on kind of the vigour of the reopening trade, and that’s having a bit of effect on the bond market keeping yields a little bit lower. It’s probably also pricing in the fact that the reopening may not be as robust as maybe we were thinking about a month or two ago,” Greenberg said.

“I’d say it’s kind of like two steps forward, one step back and we’re in that one-step-back phase right now.”

In addition, stimulus that has supported market growth is likely to reduce next year as fiscal spending is trimmed and central banks taper their support. However, economic slowing could prompt central banks not to be as aggressive in cutting back on quantitative easing and raising interest rates, he said.

Industrials led the TSX, gaining one per cent as shares of Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. increased 1.9 and 1.8 per cent, respectively, while Air Canada lost 3.6 per cent.

Materials was also higher as West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. gained 7.1 per cent and Hudbay Minerals Inc. rose 6.5 per cent.

The August gold contract was up US$7.90 at US$1,802.10 an ounce and the September copper contract was up 7.2 cents at US$4.32 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2021.


Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press