March 1st, 2024

TSX composite ekes out gain, U.S. stock markets move higher as earnings roll in

By Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press on February 7, 2024.

People walk past a bureau de change, in London, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alberto Pezzali

TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index just barely stayed in the green Wednesday, while U.S. stock markets rose, with the S&P 500 flirting with the 5,000-point milestone.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 11.44 points at 20,969.18.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 156.00 points at 38,677.36. The S&P 500 index was up 40.83 points at 4,995.06, while the Nasdaq composite was up 147.65 points at 15,756.64.

This week is more about earnings than macro data, said Brianne Gardner, senior wealth manager of Velocity Investment Partners at Raymond James Ltd.

U.S. earnings are in full force, coming in overall better than expected, she said.

“So far, the market has liked what they’ve seen,” said Gardner.

Shares in Ford Motor, Chipotle Mexican Grill and others rose after reporting earnings.

Large-cap stocks, especially in tech, continue to lead the market, said Gardner.

“But we do expect to see mid-cap and small-caps play catch up soon enough,” she said.

However, Gardner advised caution as the S&P 500 is currently overbought from a technical standpoint.

As Canadian earnings get underway, the economy north of the border is under pressure amid pending mortgage renewals and high credit card debt, said Gardner.

The Bank of Canada is concerned about the housing market and about sticky inflation, she said.

Meanwhile, anticipation over yet-to-be-announced interest rate cuts is already putting upward pressure on the housing market, she said.

“If we start to see buyers flood back into the market on anticipation of … cuts this year, well, that could reignite inflation, and potentially cause the Bank of Canada to be a little bit more cautious with their rate decision,” said Gardner.

“So I think that’s something that they are going to have to tread lightly for.”

The Bank of Canada released a summary of deliberations on Wednesday from its Jan. 24 rate decision.

The summary said it’s difficult to foresee the timing of interest rate cuts.

“While (the governing council) could not rule out further policy rate increases in the event of new inflationary surprises, members agreed that future policy discussions would likely shift to how much longer to maintain the policy rate at five per cent to sustain the disinflationary process,” the summary said.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.24 cents US compared with 74.04 cents US on Tuesday.

The March crude contract was up 55 cents at US$73.86 per barreland the March natural gas contract was down four cents at US$1.97 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was up 30 cents at US$2,051.70 an ounce and the March copper contract was down five cents at US$3.74 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

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