Tech stocks helps lift S&P/TSX composite despite energy sector weakness as oil falls


TORONTO – Optimism on a potential moderation in rate hikes helped boost growth sectors like technology on Canada’s main stock index Wednesday and more than offset losses on the energy side as oil prices fell.

U.S. markets also saw gains after the release of meeting minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve that showed officials agreed smaller rate hikes would likely be appropriate “soon.”

“Markets are factoring in a slower rate hike,” said Ashish Utarid, assistant vice-president of investment strategy at IG Wealth Management.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 62.25 points at 20,282.26.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average ended up 95.96 points at 34,194.06. The S&P 500 index was up 23.68 points at 4,027.26, while the Nasdaq composite was up 110.91 points at 11,285.32.

Markets, which have performed well over the month, have also been boosted by the U.S. midterms being over, said Utarid.

“A lot of the recent rise in November is the stability from the election that has come out so we kind of know what’s happening in the offices.”

The potentially increased stability helped lift the information technology index on the TSX by 1.9 per cent, including a 4.1-per-cent gain for Shopify Inc.

Gains on the index were broad, across almost all sectors save energy, which was down 1.2 per cent, including Suncor Energy Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. which were all down by at least that.

The energy sector retreated as oil prices remain under pressure. The January crude oil contract was down US$3.01 at US$77.94 per barrel, down from over US$90 a barrel at the start of the month.

Oil was down Wednesday as talks continued about G7 countries instituting a price cap on Russian oil. The January natural gas contract was up 30 cents at US$7.71 per mmBTU, up over a dollar from the start of November as winter heating demand rises.

The talk of slowing rate hikes by the Federal Reserve put some pressure on the U.S. dollar, said Utarid, which helped the Canadian dollar notch a slight gain despite lower oil prices. The loonie traded for 74.67 cents US compared with 74.65 cents US on Tuesday.

The December gold contract was up US$5.70 at US$1,745.60 an ounce and the December copper contract was up less than a penny at $3.62 a pound.

The rising gold price helped push Barrick Gold Corp. up 1.2 per cent, despite news that the company faces a lawsuit in Ontario over human rights violations in Tanzania.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2022.

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


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