Canada’s main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, failed to make it four days of gains in a row, losing around 90 points to close at 14,874 on Thursday as investors continued to digest comments yesterday from the U.S. Federal Reserve and shares of energy-related companies fell with the price of oil. In Electronic (NYMEX) trade the April 2015 crude oil contract was down more than 2%, its third lowest settlement of the year amid fears about record U.S. supplies.
Among the biggest losers on the Energy sector, which lost 2.7%, were Canadian Natural (CNQ.TO), Suncor (SU.TO) and Cenovus (CVE.TO).
The resources heavy index was under pressure from the off, opening 20 points below the previous day’s closing level and falling to near 14,850 early afternoon. There was some cause for hope as the market cut its losses in half in rising above 14,900 by 3pm ET, but selling pressure resumed again for much of the final hour. If there is a chink of light in all of this, the overall index was down more than 100 points in the final minutes of the session.
The U.S. central bank on Wednesday moved towards raising rates by removing the word “patient’ from its policy statement, but moves to also downgrade economic growth and inflation forecasts signaled to investors that a rate increase may not be seen until later this year.
In contrast to oil prices , gold prices ended the U.S. day session higher Thursday, building on gains from Wednesday’s Fed-inspired rally. April Comex gold was last up $17.00 at US$1,168.20 an ounce. May Comex silver was last up near $0.56 at $16.105 an ounce.
The Mining sector lost 1.4%, mostly on selling in Potash Corp (POT.TO), which lost near 3% after the Saskatchewan government announced new tax measures in its budget that could cut as much as $100 million from its profit this year. According to BNN TV, Agrium (AGU.TO), which lost near 2.5%, could also be hit, by near $50 million in its case.
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