Lower oil prices pressure TSX as Fed talks disinflation
By Fergal Smith
(Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged lower on Wednesday as a drop in oil prices weighed on energy shares and investors assessed the Federal Reserve's latest interest rate hike, but the index closed well above its low for the day.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 16.33 points, or 0.1%, at 20,751.05 after posting its highest closing level in nearly eight months on Tuesday.
U.S. stock indexes rallied after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that inflation was starting to ease following a quarter-point hike by the U.S. central bank.
Powell said for the first time "that the disinflation process has begun," Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note. "If the next couple of inflation reports show pricing pressures continue to ease, the Fed may finish this tightening cycle in March."
The Toronto market's energy sector fell 2.8% as oil settled 3.1% lower at $74.41 a barrel, pressured by U.S. government data showing a big build in inventory.
TC Energy Corp was a drag on the sector. The pipeline operator's shares slumped 5.6% after the company raised its cost estimate more than expected for completing its troubled Coastal GasLink project.
The consumer staples sector fell 1.8% but consumer discretionary advanced 1.7% and technology was up 1.8%.
It was helped by a gain of 4.1% for the shares of CGI Inc after the company reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Will Dunham and Shailesh Kuber)