May 14, 2019 5:59 pm

North American markets rally after enduring deep hit due to escalating U.S.-China trade war

FILE - In this May 1, 2019, file photo, trader Robert Charmak, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

North American markets rallied Tuesday after enduring a deep hit to start the week due to the escalating U.S.-China trade war.

The partial recovery was spurred by tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump in which he said the U.S. was in a “much better position” to strike a deal.

READ MORE: Trump says he will meet with China’s Xi at G20 summit as trade fight intensifies

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“As soon as he sent out the tweet that he’s not that concerned about the dispute at this point gave the market an element of relief rally,” said Sid Mokhtari, executive director of institutional equity research at CIBC.

Algorithms that are used to influence trading by following social media feeds accentuated the rebound, he said.

But Mokhtari said it’s premature to say if there is “conviction” behind the rally that will make it hold since trading volumes were very light.

“Whether or not it’s going to be able to show follow through tomorrow is still questionable unless we get another tweet effectively,” he said in an interview.

WATCH: Markets tumble as China announces retaliatory tariffs for U.S.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 91.12 points to 16,284.53 after hitting an intraday low of 16,206.22. The gain almost compensated for the 104-point drop on Monday.

Eight out the top 11 major sectors increased, led by health care, which grew 3.07 per cent on the back of rebounds from several cannabis companies, including Cronos Group Inc., Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Hexo Corp.

Energy gained 2.08 per cent as Encana Corp. rose 4.41 per cent followed by Crescent Point Energy Corp. The increases came as crude oil prices increased further above the key threshold of US$60.50 per barrel, said Mokhtari.

“So long as oil can stabilize itself above that moving average I think it’s reasonable to say that it may be able to put on a base and move forward again.”

READ MORE: U.S. stocks post broad declines amid U.S.-China tariff standoff, recover some losses

The June crude contract was up 74 cents at US$61.78 per barrel and the June natural gas contract was up 3.8 cents at US$2.66 per mmBTU.

The losing sectors on the day were telecommunications, real estate and materials.

Higher gold prices, which helped to soften the blow during Monday’s losses, kept the TSX from gaining more on Tuesday when prices dropped.

WATCH: US/China trade war causing turmoil in global financial markets

The June gold contract was down US$5.50 at US$1,296.30 an ounce and the July copper contract was up 0.6 of a cent at US$2.72 a pound.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 74.24 cents US compared with an average of 74.33 cents US on Monday.

U.S. markets were up, but recovered about one third of Monday’s losses.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 207.06 points at 25,532.05, a day after losing 617.38 points. The S&P 500 index was up 22.54 points at 2,834.41, while the Nasdaq composite was up 87.47 points at 7,734.49.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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