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Toronto's main stock index closes up after previous day's decline

Last Updated Aug 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm PST

TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index closed up modestly but not enough to reverse Tuesday’s 134-point decline, while the loonie ended down after a report that Saudi Arabia was selling Canadian assets.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 28.78 points at 16,315.08 as sectors other than energy, consumer discretionary, and utilities climbed. The intraday high was 16,325.12.

Auto-parts manufacturers Magna International Inc. and Linamar Corp. both helped drag down the consumer discretionary sector 1.52 per cent after Magna revised down its guidance for the second half of the year.

The company had strong second-quarter results but toned down expectations amid uncertainty surrounding tariffs and trade negotiations, leading to an almost eight per cent drop for the company’s stock.

Linamar didn’t revise its expectations, but closed down more than six per cent in a knock-on effect of tariff concerns despite good results, said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment analyst at TD Wealth.

“We are seeing companies be cautious, anticipating tariffs having a negative effect, but really all the companies in earnings season are reporting business is pretty solid, and we’re actually still seeing really good numbers,” he said.

The S&P/TSX capped energy index closed down 0.74 per cent after the September crude contract closed down $2.23 at US$66.94 per barrel.

The dip in oil prices came after weak import data from China, an escalation of trade disputes, and lower-than-expected drop in U.S. crude inventories, said Currie.

“People are still talking about the trade dispute, because new tariffs were put on again in the U.S.-China trade war. That get people worried. Trade slows, that means economies slow, that means less demand for oil.”

The health-care index closed up 1.42 per cent as cannabis stocks rose. The Toronto Stock Exchange as a whole saw 287.75 million shares trade hands.

The Canadian dollar averaged 76.62 cents US, down 0.17 of a US cent. The dollar dipped after a report by the Financial Times said the Saudi central bank and state pension funds had instructed asset managers to sell Canadian equities, bonds, and cash.

“The biggest effect it had immediately this morning was the Canadian dollar did take a drop, it fell about half a per cent today,” said Currie.

“It’s strengthened since then, but I think a lot of that was a report on the Saudi central bank and pension funds are selling stocks, selling a lot of assets.”

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average ended down 45.16 points at 25,583.75. The S&P 500 index closed down 0.75 points at 2,857.70 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 4.66 points at 7,888.33.

The December gold contract ended up $2.70 at US$1,221 an ounce and the September copper contract was unchanged at US$2.75 a pound. The September natural gas contract was up five cents at US$2.95 per mmBTU.