Toronto stocks lower as key sectors step back; Loonie climbs higher

Canada’s main stock index closed down Thursday as the key energy, financial and materials sectors all lost ground while U.S. markets were up and the loonie rose.

Energy stocks slipped despite another day of gains for crude prices after the August crude contract ended up 69 cents at US$73.45 per barrel.

Thursday’s gains add to the US$4.68 rise in oil prices in the previous two days to put crude at its highest price since late 2014.

The S&P/TSX capped energy index was down 0.74 per cent on the day but up 4.96 per cent for the week so far.

The overall S&P/TSX composite index closed down 51.36 points at 16,179.89 as gains in health care, consumer staples and information technology weren’t enough to counter losses in larger sectors.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 98.46 points at 24,216.05. The S&P 500 index ended up 16.68 points at 2,716.31 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 58.59 points at 7,503.68.

Stocks in the U.S. rose after dipping a day earlier as investors continue to grapple with trade issues, said Anish Chopra, managing director with Portfolio Management Corp.

“Markets are now getting more accustomed that investors will have to live with some level of trade uncertainty.”

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 98.46 points at 24,216.05. The S&P 500 index ended up 16.68 points at 2,716.31 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 58.59 points at 7,503.68.

The Canadian dollar averaged 75.37 cents US, up 0.22 of a US cent. The loonie had started the day lower following a speech by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz Thursday but gained throughout the day.

The higher oil price likely helped boost the loonie Thursday, said Chopra.

“Certainly the strength of the oil price is playing into it. When you’re looking at explaining daily moves, it’s certainly an important factor in what’s happening today.”

He said the Poloz speech did little to give any indication of whether a rate hike is coming July 11, leaving uncertainty on the decision.

The August gold contract closed down $5.10 at US$1,251 an ounce and the September copper contract was down four cents at US$2.97 a pound. The August natural gas contract was down four cents at US$2.94 per mmBTU.

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