S&P/TSX composite edges down as energy and base metal sectors move lower

The Bay Street financial district is shown in Toronto on Friday, August 5, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Canada’s main stock index edged lower on Wednesday, weighed down by losses in the energy and base metal stocks, while U.S. stock markets were mixed.

Greg Taylor, chief investment officer of Purpose Investments, said the markets seem to be “waiting for the next big event” amid a fairly quiet stretch of days.

“A lot of people are underinvested and cautious in the market and I think the market seems to be pretty resilient,” he said.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 3.85 points at 20,680.83.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 79.62 points at 33,897.01. The S&P 500 index was down 0.35 points at 4,154.52, while the Nasdaq composite was up 3.82 points at 12,157.23.

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The U.K. reported inflation remained above 10 per cent for a seventh straight month earlier in the day, above the 9.8 per cent rate economists had forecast.

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Taylor said that may have been a factor in why the markets started the day down before regaining some of their losses.

“There were concerns that with inflation being sticky … central banks are going to have to remain hawkish,” he said.

“Overall, the market is looking for rate cuts in the second half of the year and if inflation stays higher, you can probably think those cuts are not going to happen.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.38 cents US, compared with 74.70 cents US on Tuesday.

The June crude contract was down US$1.66 at US$79.24 per barrel and the May natural gas contract was down 14 cents at US$2.22 per mmBTU.

With oil trading below US$80 per barrel on Wednesday, Taylor said the potential of a summer recession on the horizon and a slowdown in demand will likely weigh on the price and “keep it from getting too far to the upside.”

He predicted the price will likely settle in the US$70 to $80 per barrel range in the near term.

“It’s going to be hard to see it really break out because of the concerns about the slowdown in demand going forward, and conversely, it doesn’t feel like it’s going to break much lower because OPEC started out saying that they’re going to support this price,” said Taylor.

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“So it’s kind of caught in this range. Oil’s had a pretty good run the last few years and the fact that you can hold around these levels, that’s still pretty good for (energy) companies.”

The June gold contract was down US$12.40 at US$2,007.30 an ounce and the May copper contract was down a penny at US$4.08 a pound.

Taylor noted that gold and copper stocks are “pulling back a little bit,” reflecting “general weakness in some of the commodities.”

“But there’s no real reason. It seems markets are more just sideways right now than anything else,” he said.

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