Strength in technology stocks led by Shopify Inc. after its deal to help merchants integrate with Amazon.com Inc. wasn’t enough to prevent a small loss on Canada’s main stock index Thursday, while U.S. stock markets were mixed.
Markets saw some “pretty modest action” Thursday, said Brian Madden, chief investment officer with First Avenue Investment Counsel.
“It’s in contrast to the surge of the first three days of this week and the big sell-off of August generally,” he said.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 37.70 points at 20,292.62, while shares in Shopify rose almost 11 per cent.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 168.33 points at 34,721.91. The S&P 500 index was down 7.21 points at 4,507.66,while the Nasdaq composite was up 15.66 points at 14,034.97.
In Canada, markets are being pulled between offsetting forces, said Madden. With CIBC earnings missing estimates as the last major Canadian bank to report results this quarter, that bank in particular saw “standout weakness” in its stock, he noted, which was down more than three per cent.
Overall, the more cyclical parts of the market, including real estate, financials and industrials, dragged the TSX lower, said Madden.
But on the other end of the spectrum, Shopify was on a tear Thursday on the news that it struck a deal with Amazon, he said.
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This week is a big one for economic data, particularly in the U.S., and markets this week were previously sunny on a series of reports that added to confidence the economy was cooling under the weight of higher interest rates.
On Thursday, the government reported that a measure of inflation closely tracked by the central bank remained low last month.
Friday will bring the “show stopper” to end the week, said Madden: the non-farm payrolls report, which is expected to show weakness, followed by the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing survey. Meanwhile, Canada will get fresh GDP data on Friday.
This week caps what’s been a volatile month, mainly characterized by broad-based weakness despite the recent rally, said Madden.
Both the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve have interest rate decisions in September, and are expected to hold their key rates steady.
Also making gains Thursday were cannabis stocks, reacting to news that the U.S. is considering moving cannabis from a schedule one to schedule three substance.
“They don’t move the market much because these (stocks) are a shadow of their former selves,” said Madden, but the sector is something to watch nonetheless, he said.
The Canadian dollar traded for 73.90 cents US compared with 73.88 cents US on Wednesday.
The October crude contract was up US$2.00 at US$83.63 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was down three cents at US$2.77 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was down US$7.10 at US$1,965.90 an ounceand the December copper contract was down two cents at US$3.82 a pound.
–With files from The Associated Press