Canada's main stock index posts second day of gains after Monday slump

·3 min read

Canada's main stock index posted a second day of gains Wednesday as investors recovered their confidence following a bumpy start to the week.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 145.18 points at 21,070.05.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 261.19 points at 35,753.89. The S&P 500 index gained 47.33 points at 4,696.56 while the Nasdaq composite was up 180.81 points at 15,521.89.

The second consecutive day of gains was welcome news after what had been a North American-wide market slump Monday, triggered by fears over tightening restrictions around the globe in response to surging case counts of the new Omicron variant.

Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc., said the bounce-back since then in pandemic-affected sectors like airlines, cruise lines and hotels shows that investors are less fearful now than they were about Omicron's potential impact on the economy.

“There seems to be an acceptance that virus cases are likely to rise, probably globally, but at least at this point in time, hospitalization data and associated deaths are not rising at the same pace we’ve seen in previous surges,” Archibald said. “That’s really been the difference in my mind, in the last couple of days.”

The S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index was up 1.2 per cent Wednesday, as oil stocks rallied along with crude oil prices after a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. inventories.

The February crude contract was up $1.64 cents at US$72.76 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 7 cents at US$3.71 per mmBTU.

Gains in the energy industry also spurred an uptick in the Canadian dollar, which traded for 77.73 cents US compared with 77.36 cents US on Tuesday, Archibald said.

The February gold contract was up US$13.50 at US$1,802.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was up four cents at US$4.39 a pound.

Risk-on and growth sectors, such as technology, also got a boost Wednesday. The S&P/TSX Capped Information Technology Index was up 0.67 per cent.

Besides Omicron, other factors boosting confidence in the market were new better-than-expected U.S. GDP and core inflation numbers released Wednesday.

In addition, December is just typically a more positive time of year for the markets, Archibald added.

“There’s some seasonality to this for sure. We’re into the good part of the year where usually the tax-loss selling has abated and the market usually tends to do quite well between now and early January," he said.

All in all, Archibald said it's clear traders are feeling more optimistic than they were just two days ago, although it remains unclear what the first part of 2022 will bring.

"Clearly until we get into January and start to see Q4 earnings, we won’t know for sure," he said. "But certainly the action in the last 24 hours has been quite constructive, in my mind.”

The February gold contract was up US$13.50 at US$1,802.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was up four cents at US$4.39 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2021.

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

Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

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