S&P/TSX composite rebounds from weak morning start to snap two-week skid

·3 min read

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index snapped a two-week skid by bouncing back from a weak morning prompted by tepid U.S. retail sales and an underwhelming start to fourth-quarter U.S. bank earnings.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 64.60 points to 21,357.56 after losing as much as 130 points in early trading.

U.S. stock markets also staged a late rally with the bank-heavy Dow Jones industrial average losing 201.81 points at 35,911.81 after being down as much as 472 points. The S&P 500 index was up 3.82 points at 4,662.85, while the Nasdaq composite was up 86.94 points at 14,893.75.

The day started with U.S. banks such as JP Morgan making cautious comments that caused selling after the banking sector thrived to start the year on higher bond yields and the prospect of increasing interest rates.

"There was some profit-taking, but it looks like the the Canadian banks are hanging in OK and that's keeping the market off the lows from the morning," said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer of Purpose Investments.

Royal Bank of Canada, which recently regained the crown as leading Canadian company by market capitalization, led the financials sector by gaining 1.3 per cent on Friday.

Market trading volumes were low ahead of Monday's U.S. holiday.

Energy led the TSX as crude oil price climbed amid geopolitical tensions over potential Russian moves into Ukraine and colder weather that boosts consumption.

The February crude oil contract was up US$1.70 at US$83.82 per barrel after hitting a high of US$84.22 in earlier trading. The February natural gas contract was down 0.8 of a cent at US$4.26 per mmBTU.

Crude oil is up 6.2 per cent on the week and 11.4 per cent so far in 2022, after surging 55 per cent in 2021.

Meg Energy Corp. shares were up 6.5 per cent while Enerplus Corp. rose 5.7 per cent.

"Given that energy again is a sector that seems to have been forgotten a year ago, it feels like there's a lot of people coming back to it and it could be a sector that again does work very well this year," Taylor said in an interview.

The Canadian dollar slipped on the day, trading for 79.71 cents US compared with 80.10 cents US on Thursday. But it has steadily climbed in January on higher crude prices and speculation that the Bank of Canada could start increasing interest rates at its Jan. 26 meeting.

Technology was up on the day after being hit in earlier sessions this year by higher bond yields and the prospect of increased interest rates.

Shares of Shopify Inc. increased 3.7 per cent Friday, but are down 4.4 per cent on the week and 20.6 per cent so far in 2022.

"The TSX is outperforming because it's underweight technology and overweight the cyclicals, which have been doing quite well. And with the move higher in energy today, I think that this trend can continue," Taylor said.

Real estate was the biggest laggard on the day, losing 1.2 per cent while the materials sector was lower on a fall in metals prices.

The February gold contract was down US$4.90 at US$1,816.50 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 12.6 cents at US$4.42 a pound.

Taylor anticipates markets will focus next week on quarterly earnings reports, but volatility could continue as options expire.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2022.


Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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