Toronto stock market caps wild week by closing higher for fifth straight week

Toronto stock market caps wild week by closing higher for fifth straight week

TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index capped a wild week of trading by closing higher for a fifth consecutive week.

“What we’re basically seeing here is just the markets kind of consolidating after what’s been a pretty crazy week particularly in the energy markets,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

Benchmark U.S. oil futures prices fell into negative territory for the first time in history on Monday. Oil prices for the June contract have risen more than 46 per cent since falling to a 21-year low on Tuesday, but remain down about 72 per cent since the beginning of the year.

The decrease stems from lower global demand as people are staying home in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The June crude contract was up 44 cents or 2.7 per cent Friday at US$16.94 per barrel and the June natural gas contract was down 4.7 cents at US$1.90 per mmBTU.

The TSX energy index fell by less than one percentage point after Thursday’s large gain as investors pocketed some profits.

It moved lower as Secure Energy Securities Inc. and Frontera Energy Corp. lost 8.3 and 8.1 per cent respectively.

“I’m calling today kind of backing and filling. We’ve had some good moves and today we’re just kind of consolidating,” Cieszynski said in an interview.

Nine of the other major sectors on the TSX were higher, led by health care, technology and materials. Utilities dipped slightly.

Materials gained 1.9 per cent, with Interfor Corp. rising 8.7 per cent, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. up 8.2 per cent and Torex Gold Resources Inc. seven per cent higher.

The June gold contract was down US$9.80 at US$1,735.60 an ounce and the May copper contract was up 2.5 cents at US$2.34 a pound.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 169.27 points at 14,420.36. That’s a 60.48-point increase in a week and 28 per cent since the March 23 low.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 260.01 points at 23,775.27. The S&P 500 index was up 38.94 points at 2,836.74, while the Nasdaq composite was up 139.77 points at 8,634.52.

Markets have moved from huge swings of more than 1,000 points a month ago to trading with much lower volumes.

“We’re kind of moving from the phase where there was huge amounts of uncertainty into a phase where news is coming out and people are just kind of trying to make sense of it all,” Cieszynski said.

The Canadian dollar traded for 70.97 cents US compared with an average of 71.11 cents US on Thursday.

Some of the earnings reports out of the U.S. haven’t been too bad but the unwillingness of firms to give guidance is creating uncertainty.

That’s keeping a lid on stocks despite growing anticipation about the economy gradually starting to reopen, said Cieszynski.

“We’ve kind of switched from panic to euphoria to just kind of general uncertainty as people are almost more like deer caught in the headlights now and waiting to see what happens next, because nobody’s really quite sure still what to make of a lot of this.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:IFP, TSX:FM, TSX:TXG, TSX:SES, TSX:FEC, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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