TORONTO — Strength in the energy sector helped Canada’s main stock index hold its ground Tuesday against losses in the financial industry, while U.S. markets were up on interest-rate optimism ahead of the last rate hike of the year, with the Nasdaq composite rising more than one per cent.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 3.76 points at 20,023.46.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 103.60 points at 34.108.64. The S&P 500 index was up 29.09 points at 4,019.65, while the Nasdaq composite was up 113.07 points at 11,256.81.
U.S. inflation data released Tuesday really set the tone for the markets, said Scott Guitard, senior vice-president and portfolio manager at Fiduciary Trust Canada.
Inflation for November was 7.1 per cent, down from 7.7 per cent a month earlier and slightly lower than investors expected.
As a result, interest-rate-sensitive stocks like tech had a strong day, Guitard said, as the positive news on inflation only solidified expectations that central banks will be easing up on their interest rate hikes going into 2023.
“(Inflation) was lighter than we saw last month, so that’s a positive. But more importantly, it was lighter than what was expected,” said Guitard. “So that gave the market an extra boost, and I think it gives the Fed permission to move down to smaller rate hike increments starting tomorrow.”
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise its key rate by 50 basis points on Wednesday, echoing the Bank of Canada’s move last week, said Guitard. But while the number itself might not be a surprise, investors will be watching for the Fed’s commentary for a sign of what’s coming next, he said.
“I think everyone’s going to be listening closely to the comments tomorrow and over the next few days to set the tone for the first few quarters of next year.”
In a speech Monday, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem warned inflation won’t be easy to tackle in 2023, trying to temper expectations.
“Even though inflation has slowed down, they’re more concerned about prices than growth at this point, and the bias would be to over-tighten,” said Guitard. “And I think we could see similar language from the Fed. They were behind the curve to begin with, and they’re going to have to continue to fight inflation, regardless of the fact that it’s appeared to peak.”
The Canadian dollar traded for 73.82 cents UScompared with 73.22 cents US on Monday.
The January crude contract was up US$2.22 at US$75.39 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 35 cents at US$6.94 per mmBTU.
The February gold contract was up US$33.20 at US$1,825.50 an ounce and the March copper contract was up four cents at US$3.84 a pound.
Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)
Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press