Canada's main stock index fell on Thursday despite a rally in crude oil prices, leaving the market down 11 percent in 2015 and closing out its worst year since the global financial crisis of 2008. The strong correlation between equity markets and oil prices reversed for one day, according to Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
The heavily weighed financial services sector was the biggest drag on the market in light volume ahead of the New Year's Day holiday, falling 1.7 percent. Royal Bank of Canada fell 1.9 percent to C$74.15, while Toronto-Dominion Bank was down 1.4 percent at C$54.24. Industrials also fell, including a 1.3 percent drop in Canadian National Railway Co to C$77.35.
BlackBerry Ltd fell 1.0 percent to C$12.84. The company said it has decided to continue its operations in Pakistan as the government dropped a request for access to users' data. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 132.34 points, or 1.01 percent, to 13,009.95, with nine of the index's 10 main groups in negative territory. Lower prices for crude oil and other commodities weighed on the resource-linked market in 2015, triggering a 27 percent slump in energy stocks and a 23 percent slide in the materials group.
"We are still going to be dependent on energy prices," said Nakamoto. However, he looks for recovery in energy prices to support "a gradual rise in the index over time." The materials group fell 0.6 percent on Thursday, including a 2.2 percent drop in Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc to C$23.70. Energy stocks rose 0.6 percent, helped by the rally in crude oil prices.
Encana Corporation advanced 4.8 percent to C$7.03, while Enbridge Inc was up 0.9 percent at C$46.00. US crude prices settled at $37.04 a barrel, up 1.2 percent. Bombardier Inc rose 3.1 percent to C$1.34. The planemaker said it received a firm order from China Express Airlines for 10 CRJ900 jets for about $462.6 million based on the list price of the aircraft.