Commodities update: Alberta introduces rancher bill, lower gas prices temper inflation
TORONTO -- Canada's main stock index inched higher for a second straight day on gains by clothing retailer Aritzia and a deal to end a GM strike in the U.S. helping Canadian auto parts companies.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 8.79 points at 16,427.18, a day after gaining just 3.23 points.
"It's as flat as can be," says Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.
Several sectors posted small gains that were almost entirely offset by losses in other sectors.
Telecommunications climbed as shares of Rogers Communications Inc. closed up two per cent.
Consumer discretionary was higher as Aritzia Inc. shares gained 16 per cent in trading after reporting strong quarterly results that beat analyst expectations. Irene Nattel of RBC Capital Markets said the company remains on track to more than double revenue and earnings as it adds five new boutiques in the U.S. next year and expands or repositions three in Canada.
Auto parts manufacturers Linamar Corp. and Magna International Inc. climbed 2.4 and 1.6 per cent respectively after GM announced a tentative deal with the United Auto Workers Union that would end a strike launched a month ago.
Materials rose nearly one per cent with the price of gold rebounding, sending mining company shares higher, including Kinross Gold Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp.
The December gold contract was up US$10.50 at US$1,494.00 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 2.45 cents at US$2.59 a pound.
Technology followed the trend south of the border by dropping 2.1 per cent on the day as Shopify Inc. lost 6.6 per cent and Blackberry Inc. was down 2.5 per cent.
"Just a lot of political talk about breaking up all the tech companies, so that's having a real effect on a lot of them," said Currie.
Energy was slightly lower despite crude oil prices rising. Crescent Point Energy Corp. shares lost 2.1 per cent.
The November crude contract was up 55 cents at US$53.36 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down 3.6 cents at US$2.30 per mmBTU.
The Canadian dollar added a few cents after Statistics Canada said the annual inflation rate was 1.9 per cent in September for a second straight month. Economists on average had expected a reading of 2.1 per cent for September, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
The Canadian dollar traded for an average of 75.75 cents US compared with an average of 75.69 cents US on Tuesday.
In New York, stock markets slipped slightly as retail sales dropped in September by the largest amount in seven months, possibly signalling that trade tensions and concerns about a possible recession are having an impact on consumer spending.
Retail sales fell 0.3 per cent last month following a 0.6 per cent gain in August. It was the first decline since a 0.5 per cent drop in February.
Currie said that's negative overall and gets people worried about the broader economy. In addition, he said investors are worried about the Chinese response if three bills become law that were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to show support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
"Any negative talk about U.S.-China relations puts some downward pressure on the market."