4:20 p.m. ET: North American markets close higher, Nasdaq posts new record

North American equity markets closed higher Wednesday, recouping some of the losses from Tuesday’s sell-off. U.S. markets finished the day near session highs, with the S&P 500 gaining 0.79 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.68 per cent higher and the Nasdaq Composite Index rising 1.44 per cent to post a new record closing high. The S&P/TSX Composite lagged its American counterparts, with Toronto’s benchmark index eking out a modest 0.19 per cent gain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

South of the border, gains from tech titans Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. helped power the Nasdaq to that fresh record, as tech stocks continued to outperform the overall market.

In Toronto, only four of the composite’s 11 subgroups finished the day in positive territory, with materials, industrials and information technology doing the heavy lifting to the upside. Health care, communications services and energy were the largest percentage drags on the composite.

Gold held above the psychological US$1,800 level, gaining half a per cent to trade at US$1,8181.50 per ounce.

Oil prices closed the day modestly higher, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate up 0.57 per cent to US$40.85 per barrel and Alberta’s Western Canadian Select 0.51 per cent higher at US$33.25 per barrel.

The Canadian dollar rose half a cent against its American counterpart to trade at 74.03 cents U.S., though the greenback was broadly lower against its developed-market peers.


12:15 p.m. ET: North American markets fluctuate, tech outperforms

North American equity markets pared their earlier gains through midday trading Wednesday, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index and S&P 500 seesawing between modest gains and losses while the Nasdaq Composite Index outperforming its major peers. The TSX and Dow Jones Industrial Average were essentially unchanged shortly after noon ET, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.2 per cent and the Nasdaq rose 0.8 per cent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq got a boost from some of the tech titans, with Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. both notching gains.

In Toronto, seven of the 11 TSX subgroups were in negative territory, led lower by health care, communication services and energy. Materials, information technology and utilities were the largest percentage gainers.

Oil prices were flat for the day, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate rising a paltry 0.1 per cent to US$40.64 per barrel. Alberta’s Western Canadian Select was 0.63 per cent higher to trade at US$33.29 per barrel.

Gold held above the US$1,800 level, rising 0.7 per cent to US$1,823 per ounce.

The Canadian dollar continued to rally against its U.S. counterpart, gaining more than four-tenths of a cent to 73.94 cents U.S.


9:45 a.m. ET: North American equity markets push higher, gold tops US$1,800

North American equity markets pushed higher in early trading Wednesday, erasing some of the losses in Tuesday’s trade.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 0.4 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.4 per cent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq once again outperformed its major peers, rising 0.95 per cent.

Equity markets have seesawed in recent trading sessions as investors weigh the impact of gradual global economic reopenings against the surging COVID-19 case count in a number of U.S. states.

Gold continued to rally, pushing the price of the precious metal above US$1,800 per ounce. Gold prices are up more than 20 per cent since mid-March as investors look for a store of value amidst the virus-induced volatility in markets.

Oil prices were little changed ahead of U.S. inventory data, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate flatlining to trade at US$40.67 per barrel and Alberta’s Western Canadian Select up about two-thirds of a per cent to US$33.30 per barrel. U.S. crude oil stockpiles are expected to have declined by 3.25-million barrels last week.

The Canadian dollar was up a quarter of a cent against its American counterpart to 73.78 cents U.S., though the greenback was broadly lower against a basket of its major-market peers.