Canada’s main stock index closed slightly higher Wednesday, while the Canadian dollar continued its slide and U.S. markets were mixed with ongoing uncertainty from metal tariffs.
Concerns in the U.S. of the implications of the global tariffs weighed on industrials, with companies like Boeing pulling down the Dow, said Norman Levine, managing director of Portfolio Management Corp.
It marks the third down day for U.S. markets, continuing a correction started last month, he said.
“I believe it’s continuing the correction it began in the middle of February, and still has a ways more to go.”
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 248.91 points to 24,758.12. The S&P 500 index was down 15.83 points to 2,749.48 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 14.20 points to 7,496.81.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 6.47 points to 15,653.61, helped by base metals and materials, and is insulated from the U.S. slide because it hasn’t had the same gains recently, said Levine.
“Because the Canadian market has been such an underperformer, it doesn’t have the same correction necessity that the US market does.”
The Canadian dollar closed at 77.26 cents US, down 0.19 of a US cent, adding to the half-cent slip Tuesday after Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz signalled a more gradual pace of rate hikes going forward.
Poloz said he was focused on the untapped potential in labour markets and their importance to overall economic growth, while making clear that accommodative monetary policy is not going away any time soon.
The loonie soared last year after the central bank surprised the markets and raised interest rates twice in the third quarter. However, policy-makers subsequently tempered their hawkish tone, emphasizing that the bank will proceed cautiously in order to gauge the impact of higher borrowing costs and a stronger loonie on the economy.
The April crude contract closed up 25 cents to US$60.96 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was down six cents at US$2.73 per mmBTU.
The April gold contract closed down US$1.50 to US$1,325.60 an ounce and the May copper contract was up two cents to US$3.16 a pound.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version stated that the loonie had fallen 0.9 of a US cent.