TORONTO: Canada’s main stock index fell on Monday, as a slide in commodity prices weighed on energy and mining shares, while investors focused on US Federal Reserve’s meeting later this week.
At 9:40 a.m. ET (13:40 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 61.3 points, or 0.3%, at 20,700.7.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.3% as gold prices slipped 1% toward 2-1/2-month lows, with investors bracing for a large interest rate hike by the Fed, as it seeks to contain soaring inflation. The energy sector fell 0.8% as oil prices slumped, with concerns over weak economic growth in top importer China overshadowing fears of supply getting crimped by a potential European Union ban on Russian crude.
“It’s a tough time for equity markets in general and ... Canada right now, with gold getting hammered and crude oil down again, it’s a rocky start to the month for Canadian stocks,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.
Healthcare sector fell 0.9% with pot producers Canopy Growth Corp, Aurora Cannabis among top drags, while the financials sector slipped 0.3%. Fed policymakers look set to deliver a series of aggressive rate hikes at least until the summer, with traders seeing a 92.8% chance of a 50-basis point hike on Wednesday when it will release its policy decision.
The TSX benchmark index recorded its worst monthly performance in April in over two years, hit by disappointing earnings from some major US companies and concerns around soaring inflation and rising interest rates. Market focus is also on domestic earnings from major miners and technology companies including Barrick Gold, Shopify Inc and Constellation Software later this week.