S&P/TSX composite edges lower as commodities slip

“Gold names have sold off today,” said Nia.

Investors also digested economic data on Friday.

Statistics Canada reported Canadian manufacturing sales fell 2.0 per cent to $52.4 billion in August. In the U.S., a report showed retail sales jumping 1.9 per cent in September.

“The primary one that investors would focus on is the retail sales number … investors are going through this mental calculus right now,” said Nia.

“We think that the job gains are going to be tougher now, in terms of new incremental jobs. But the reason why retail sales was very positive today for the market, and I think is also one of the drivers of the S&P today, is that the individuals that have jobs today are obviously comfortable enough with their financial position to spend.”

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 112.11 points at 28,606.31, the S&P 500 index was up less than half a point at 3,483.81, while the Nasdaq composite was down 42.31 points at 11,671.56.

In the U.S., Nia noted that past elections have introduced volatility into the stock markets and the upcoming U.S. presidential election is no different.

“When you look at this time in history, in terms of elections, there is volatility leading into it. That’s only going to be, I think, a little bit juiced up this time around, given that we are parsing through COVID numbers, we’re parsing through vaccination trials. And now we’re also parsing through policy as well,” said Nia.

Going into the last quarter of the year, Nia said upcoming quarterly earnings reports from companies should guide investor expectations for the busy holiday shopping season.

“I think what’s going to be very important is looking at those companies that are tied to the consumer, and seeing what type of guidance they’re posting. The markets are forward looking, and we’re looking now into basically the last three months of the year,” Nia said.

“That, I think, is going to be the primary driver of markets for 2021. Less policy, less political, more getting back to good old-fashioned days of fundamentals in earnings.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2020.

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

By Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press

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