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S&P/TSX composite posts small loss Tuesday, U.S. stock markets mixed

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Canada’s main stock index posted a small loss Tuesday, weighed down by energy and metals, while U.S. markets were mixed.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 34.28 points at 20,375.93.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 79.88 points at 36,124.56. The S&P 500 index was down 2.60 points at 4,567.18, while the Nasdaq composite was up 44.42 points at 14,229.91.

“After very, very sharp November gains we are seeing, unsurprisingly, equity markets taking a pause,” said Angelo Kourkafas, an investment strategist at Edward Jones.

Tuesday saw a continued decline in long-term government bond yields, supporting some of the growth segments of the equity markets like technology, said Kourkafas.

“We continue to see progress on inflation, both in Canada and the U.S. And we are seeing signs of gradual cooling in the labour markets,” he said.

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New data Tuesday saw U.S. job openings hit their lowest level since March 2021, said Kourkafas, a positive sign in the fight against inflation.

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In the U.S., “the focus this week is the state of the labour market,” said Kourkafas, with more data coming later in the week.

The ongoing signs of a gradual cooling in labour are consistent with hopes for a soft landing, he said.

“Markets have been very quick to anticipate rate cuts early in the year,” noted Kourkafas, but he expects some push and pull between market expectations and central banks not wanting to declare victory prematurely over inflation.

Meanwhile, another report showed continued growth in U.S. services industries, where strength has been offsetting weakness in the manufacturing side of the economy.

In Canada, all eyes will be on the Bank of Canada’s last rate decision of the year on Wednesday. The bank is expected not to move its overnight rate, said Kourkafas.

“Likely, they will start acknowledging that inflation is moving in the right direction, and the economy is losing some momentum,” he said.

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.64 cents US compared with 73.85 cents US on Monday.

The January crude oil contract was down 72 cents at US$72.32 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up two cents at US$2.71 per mmBTU.

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The February gold contract was down US$5.90 at US$2,036.30 an ounce and the March copper contract was down five cents at US$3.78 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

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