BNN Bloomberg's closing bell update: Oct. 30, 2019
TORONTO -- North American stock markets climbed Wednesday, with the S&P 500 hitting a new record high, on a day when central banks in Canada and the U.S. made their latest interest rate decisions.
As expected the Bank of Canada held firm on its interest rate but suggested a rate cut is possible later next year over anticipation for a weakened economy.
That prompted the loonie to fall. The Canadian dollar traded for an average of 76.03 cents US compared with an average of 76.48 cents US on Tuesday.
In the U.S., the Federal Reserve trimmed its rate by 0.25 per cent, its third such move this year. But it suggested further rate cuts are unlikely.
"We have a Fed that's in a wait-and-see mode," said Macan Nia, senior investment strategist at Manulife Investment Management.
"There was more risk for the equity markets that the commentary would be very hawkish and there would have been selloff."
As a result, he said investor focus will return to the trade front, with negotiations between China and the U.S. being the primary driver for risk assets for the rest of the year.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 82.29 points at 16,501.43.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 115.27 points at 27,186.69. The S&P 500 index was up 9.88 points at 3,046.77 after hitting a record high of 3,50.10 earlier in the day. The Nasdaq composite was up 27.12 points at 8,303.98.
Although markets rose, Nia described it as a neutral day given the anticipation about commentary from central banks.
"We were all looking for some potential fireworks or a major catalyst to either the downside or the upside but it was very lacklustre in terms of a catalyst," he said in an interview.
Nine of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were higher, led by technology, telecommunications and industrials.
The tech sector rose 1.8 per cent on gains by CGI Group, Constellation Software Inc. and Shopify Inc.
Cogeco climbed 2.7 per cent to help communications while industrials was pushed up by CP Rail and CN Rail.
The heavyweight financials sector also had a good day as Royal Bank and Bank of Montreal saw their shares gain in heavy volume.
Materials gained as the price of gold rose.
The December gold contract was up US$6.00 at US$1,496.70 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 0.55 of a cent at US$2.69 a pound.
Energy was the biggest loser on the day, falling 1.4 per cent as Encana Corp. dropped 2.3 per cent while higher U.S. crude inventories pushed prices lower.
The December crude contract was down 48 cents at US$55.06 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was up 5.2 cents at US$2.69 per mmBTU.