S&P/TSX composite posts loss Tuesday, U.S. stock markets mixed

TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index posted a loss on Tuesday as weakness in energy and industrial stocks led the market lower, while U.S. stock markets were mixed.

Markets were digesting testimony before Congress from U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who said Tuesday that the central bank has made “considerable progress” in its fight against inflation.

In his testimony, Powell said inflation has eased notably and that cutting interest rates “too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 83.63 points at 22,042.50.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 52.82 points at 39,291.97. The S&P 500 index was up 4.13 points at 5,576.98, while the Nasdaq composite was up 25.55 points at 18,429.29.

Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc., said he saw Powell’s testimony as fairly dovish, as investors continue to anticipate interest rate cuts as early as September.

“Although the market was hoping it would be dovish, so maybe it was sort of in line with what market sentiment was,” he added.

Powell continued to emphasize that the Fed still needs more data showing that inflation is on the right track before it can start cutting, said Archibald.

“I think he did a pretty good job of trying to not box himself into any particular time, as far as when rate cuts are going to continue.”

According to financial data firm CME Group, markets are currently pricing in a 70-per-cent chance of a cut in September.

On Wednesday, Powell will testify before the House Financial Services Committee.

Later this week, investors will get fresh data on consumer and wholesale inflation, noted Archibald, as well as the kickoff of earnings season with some of the major U.S. banks reporting.

“It’s a fairly quiet day outside of ... the Powell testimony,” he said.

“I think the market is really positioning itself for Thursday when you get the CPI data.”

In the U.S., bank stocks helped outweigh weakness in tech companies.

Markets were relatively flat with some rotation happening towards sectors that have been relative laggards this year, said Archibald.

“Financials in particular in both Canada and the U.S. are outperforming today, so that’s certainly a positive.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.32 cents US compared with 73.35 cents US on Monday.

The August crude oil contract was down 92 cents at US$81.41 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was down two cents at US$2.34 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract was up US$4.40 at US$2,367.90 an ounce and the September copper contract was down four cents at US$4.58 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2024.