Strength in utility and telecom stocks helped lift Canada’s main stock index higher on Thursday, while U.S. stock markets moved lower.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 103.00 points at 19,137.81.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average finished down 9.98 points at 33,119.57. The S&P 500 index fell 5.56 points at 4,258.19, while the Nasdaq composite was down 16.18 points at 13,219.83.
“This week was really about the (bond) yields and the impact that had on the markets predominantly in the U.S.,” said Kevin Headland, chief investment strategist at Manulife Investment Management.
“We saw some selling pressure on those longer-duration equity securities, the technology and probably the main cap names that tend to do better when the yields are falling, not rising.”
Yields fluctuated Thursday after a report in the U.S. showed fewer workers applied for unemployment benefits last week than economists expected, which could be a sign of upward pressure on inflation.
A report on the U.S. job market is expected on Friday. Headland said that data will be pivotal as the U.S. Federal Reserve mulls its next decision on whether to raise interest rates.
“There’s a lot of volatility after this recent meeting. This higher-for-longer narrative was not digested well by the broad U.S. equity market,” he said. “And now, it’s what’s next? Are they going to raise another core point? Are they going to pause for good now?”
In Canada, Headland said all eyes have been on the elevated price of oil this week and whether it would remain above the US$90 benchmark. That price fell below US$85 per barrel on Wednesday and moved even lower on Thursday.
“Clearly, we got a big reversal there. It has fallen materially over the last couple of days. We’re almost down over $10 since Sept. 27, so that’s a really big move,” said Headland. “That reversal is going to take the wind out of those sails.”
The Canadian dollar traded for 72.82 cents US compared with 72.76 cents US on Wednesday.
The November crude oil contract was down U$1.91 at US$82.31 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was up 20 cents at US$3.17 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was down $3.00 at US$1,831.80 an ounce and the December copper contract was down four cents at US$3.55 a pound.
— With files from The Associated Press
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