Toronto stocks little changed in late-morning trading, loonie down

The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, April 4, 2019 1:43AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 4, 2019 5:32PM EDT

TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index managed a slight increase on a subdued day as gains in the energy and financials sectors outweighed losses in real estate and information technology.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 31.75 points at 16,311.61 on 190 million shares traded, well off the index’s average of 250 million shares.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 166.50 at 26,384.63. The S&P 500 index ended up 5.99 points at 2,879.39, while the Nasdaq composite was down 3.77 points at 7,891.78.

Markets generally got a boost from increased optimism in trade talks as U.S. and Chinese leaders prepared to meet, said Kash Pashootan, chief executive at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc.

“At this point the market is pricing in that U.S. leaders and Chinese leaders will be hugging and kissing at the end of this meeting,” he said.

He said markets have priced in too much optimism on the talks even as market fundamentals are shifting.

“We know any time there’s too much optimism, there’s really only one outcome that can prevail, which is disappointment.”

The market rebound in the first quarter came even as debt downgrades increased and earnings per share growth slowed, increasing the chances of another correction, said Pashootan.

“When we look at the equity markets today, is we went from needing a correction to getting one, to needing another one.”

The Canadian dollar averaged 74.87 cents US compared with an average of 75.05 cents US on Wednesday.

The May crude contract closed down 36 cents at US$62.10 per barrel and the May natural gas contract ended down three cents at US$2.64 per mmBTU.

The S&P/TSX energy index rose 0.46 per cent despite the dips

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