S&P/TSX composite down almost 140 points Friday, U.S. stock markets mixed

TORONTO — Losses in the financial and utilities sectors helped lead Canada's main stock index lower on Friday, while U.S. stock markets were mixed.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 137.92 points at 18,737.39.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 366.71 points at 32,417.59. The S&P 500 index was down 19.86 points at 4,117.37, while the Nasdaq composite was up 47.41 points at 12,643.01.

Amidst the ongoing backdrop of uncertainty around interest rates, this week was all about earnings, said John Zechner, chairman and lead equity manager at J Zechner Associates.

In particular, several big technology names reported this week. Both Meta and Alphabet beat expectations but saw share prices fall anyway.

Though earnings reports overall were pretty good, often exceeding analyst expectations, tech stocks haven’t gained across the board, noted Zechner -- likely because some companies’ outlooks on the coming months weren’t as optimistic as investors would hope for.

“In a nervous market, that was just too much for investors in that group,” he said.

For many investors, there’s already been plenty of profit in tech, said Zechner. “So it just seems like a natural place for profit-taking.”

Another market giant, Amazon, reported earnings after the bell Thursday, beating profits estimates and helping the Nasdaq make gains on a Friday when other indexes were in the red. The company’s stock was up almost seven per cent at the end of the day.

Other than earnings, rates continued to be the “anchor” for the market, said Zechner.

“If you started to get weaker economic data and then interest rates started rolling over and bonds rallied a little, I think you’d really see quite the rally in the market,” he said.

“I think the worry is that rates are going to stay here for quite a while. And that’s just competition for stocks.”

Economic data continue to be strong, with a report Friday showing a gauge of inflation that the U.S. Federal Reserve closely monitors remained elevated in September. The report also found that spending by U.S. consumers was stronger than expected last month even as another report said consumer expectations for inflation are rising.

Next week, the Fed will announce its decision on interest rates, coming after the Bank of Canada this week chose to leave its key rate alone. The Fed isn’t expected to move its key rate either, said Zechner.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.17 cents UScompared with 72.33 cents US on Thursday.

The December crude oil contract was up US$2.33 at US$85.54 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was up less than a penny at US$3.48 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was down US$1.10 at US$1,998.50 an ounce and the December copper contract was up six cents at US$3.65 a pound.

-- With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press