Markets in Canada and U.S. mixed, but more or less flat Thursday amid oil price slide

TORONTO — Canada's main index lost a handful of points Thursday, weighed down by weakness in energy and base metal stocks, while U.S. markets were mixed.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 4.82 points at 20,053.07.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 45.74 points at 34,945.47.The S&P 500 index was up 5.36 points at 4,508.24,while the Nasdaq composite was up 9.84 points at 14,113.67.

Thursday marked a natural pause after the market’s recent rally, said Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at IG Wealth Management.

Markets have been on an upward bent this month, with Wall Street on track for its best month in a year as hope for a soft landing and an end to interest-rate hikes grows.

In the U.S., Walmart and Cisco Systems reported earnings that beat market expectations, but accompanied those reports with weaker forecasts than expected as spending pulls back.

Both companies saw their stock prices fall Thursday, with Walmart down more than eight per cent, and Cisco down almost 10 per cent.

Thursday also saw data releases on manufacturing, industrial production and unemployment benefits that indicated the economy is slowing.

While there are signs of continued weakening in the U.S. economy, Petursson said he also sees recessionary pressures easing — and the odds of a soft landing are better going into 2024 than they were earlier this year.

Another rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve, meanwhile, looks highly unlikely, he said.

Meanwhile, oil made notable moves lower Thursday, with the price of a barrel down almost five per cent. The TSX’s energy index was down by 1.9 per cent.

Petursson said he expects continued weakness in oil, driven by a trio of factors: higher output from the U.S. and other countries, weaker demand and a growing sense that the Israel-Hamas war isn’t spreading.

With oil, the Canadian dollar was also down Thursday, noted Petursson, as the correlation between the two is reasserting itself.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.73 cents US, compared with 73.13 cents US on Wednesday.

The January crude oil contract was down US$3.70 at US$73.09 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down 13 cents at US$3.06 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$23.00 at US$1,987.30 an ounce and the December copper contract was down two cents at US$3.70 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2023.

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

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press