S&P/TSX composite starts September in record territory on railway gains

·3 min read

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index started September in record territory as the country's two largest railways pushed the industrials sector to an all-time high.

Shares of Canadian Pacific Railways Ltd. and Canadian National Railway Co. rose 5.1 and 3.8 per cent, respectively, Wednesday a day after the U.S. transportation regulator rejected CN's proposed voting trust for Kansas City Southern.

That opened the door for rival CP to renew its push for KCS to accept its lower bid, arguing there is less regulatory risk.

Both railway shares got a lift even though the news is potentially better for CP than CN.

"I think both stocks have been lagging a little bit just because this has been happening over both heads," said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.

"Until it gets settled. some investors have been sitting on the sidelines. So I think it just gets us a little closer to a decision and people are starting to pick who they think is gonna win or lose here, so I think both benefited from that today."

The industrials sector increased 2.2 per cent to a record high.

Technology was one of eight sectors that were up on the day compared with three that were lower.

Shares of Lightspeed Commerce rose 3.8 per cent while Hut 8 Mining Corp climbed 3.5 per cent.

Energy was up 0.2 per cent as crude oil prices inched higher even as OPEC plus allies said they would increase monthly output as expected, while natural gas prices surged.

The October crude contract was up nine cents at US$68.59 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was up 23.8 cents at nearly US$4.62 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar traded for 79.32 cents US compared with 79.26 cents US on Tuesday.

Health care was down 1.1 per cent, consumer staples was lower and materials dipped 0.7 per cent as gold and copper prices fell.

The December gold contract was down US$2.10 at US$1,816.00 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 9.7 cents at US$4.28 a pound.

Overall, the S&P/TSX composite index closed up 106.64 points to a record close of 20,689.58 after reaching a intraday high of 20,723.91.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 48.20 points at 35,312.53. The S&P 500 index was up 1.41 points at 4,524.09, while the Nasdaq composite was up 50.14 points to a record close of 15,309.38.

North American stock markets started the month on a positive note after concluding a seven-month streak of monthly gains.

September is traditionally one of the weakest periods of the year, Currie said in an interview.

"But it seems for several months now all news is good news and that continues today."

U.S. markets increased even though ADP payroll numbers missed expectations, raising concerns about August jobless numbers to be released on Friday.

Part of the increases could be attributed to investors believing the employment data may relieve some pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut stimulus and raise interest rates, added Currie.

"(It's a) bull market that never seems to end."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR, TSX:CP, TSX:LSPD, TSX:HUT, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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