Toronto stocks fell on Tuesday as weak crude prices hurt heavyweight energy shares, while data showed the annual inflation rate in October cooled more than expected, fuelling bets that the Bank of Canada’s (BoC) interest rates had peaked.
At 10:04 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 35.37 points, or 0.17%, at 20,211.1.
Energy stocks led sectoral decline, dropping 1.0% as oil prices fell, reversing the steep gains made in the past two sessions on investor concerns over deepening of supply cuts.
However, investor focus was on the reading of Canada’s annual inflation rate, which eased more than expected to 3.1% in October, while core inflation measures edged down to their lowest levels in about two years, likely closing the door to further rate hikes.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast inflation cooling to 3.2% from 3.8% in September.
“Overall, while the numbers are not very surprising, they’re generally encouraging, and wherever there was any small surprise, it was generally on the lower side of expectations,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
“The Bank of Canada will probably welcome this report. It’s definitely a big step in the right direction,” Porter added.
Inflation readings also fanned bets that the BoC might start pricing in rate cuts as early as next year.
Rate-sensitive stocks usually take cheer from cooling inflation; however, investors remained cautious ahead of the release of U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes for its November meeting as they look for clues on the interest rate path.
Rate sensitive technology and real estate stocks fell 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively, mirroring the sentiment of Wall Street.
The loonie strengthened 0.3% against the dollar.
Among companies, Capital Power shares sank 6.3% after the energy company said it was acquiring two U.S.-based natural gas-fired generation facilities in California and Arizona for $1.1 billion.