North American stock markets climb on optimism about economic re-openings

North American stock markets climb on optimism about economic re-openings

TORONTO — North American stock markets moved higher midweek on optimism surrounding economic reopenings following a two-month lockdown.

Investor sentiment also drove up crude oil prices again which helped to support the Toronto stock market.

“Markets are in full-on risk-on mode today,” said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager for Fiera Capital.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 112.15 points at 14,997.63, after playing catch up for a strong rally in the U.S. on Victoria Day Monday.

U.S. markets recovered Wednesday, a day after losing ground on concerns about the viability of a potential vaccine for COVID-19.

“Investors have shifted their focus away from disappointing news on a potential (COVID-19) vaccine, and today are focusing on further easing of restrictions and the gradual reopening of the economy all of which has boosted appetite for risky assets across the board,” she said.

There’s a tug-of-war between the hopes for a viable therapeutic to stem the pandemic and fears of a second wave of infections that would re-engage restrictions that could restrain the economic recovery, she said.

“So it’s creating a little bit more volatile trading conditions in the market and just a little bit more sensitivity to the headlines on the virus spreads.”

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 369.04 points at 24,575.90. The S&P 500 index was up 48.67 points at 2,971.61, while the Nasdaq composite was up 190.67 points to a three-month high of 9,375.75 as Facebook and Amazon shares hit record highs.

While some believe investors could be spurred from the sidelines by the S&P 500 approaching 3,000 points, Bangsund said it is a potential trigger for investors to crystallize profits after a very strong bear market rally spurred on by fiscal and government stimulus.

“We’re close to levels where we were pre-COVID. That’s a positive sign. I’m a little bit more cautious and I think that these levels warrant some caution given that there’s really little in the way of a fundamental catalyst for the rally.”

The energy sector was the big gainer on the TSX, increasing 5.6 per cent with shares of Frontera Energy Corp. and Whitecap Resources Inc. rising 22.4 and 16.5 per cent respectively.

The increases came as crude oil prices rose nearly five per cent on better market balance from growing demand and lower supplies.

The July crude contract was up US$1.53 at US$33.49 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was down 7.6 cents at US$1.91 per mmBTU.

Helping the oil price was a five million barrel drop in weekly U.S. inventories.

Unlike last month’s historic negative crude price on a lack of storage, the June contract ended in positive territory.

“So it’s a slow process, but slowly but surely the market does seem to be finding a better balance.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 71.98 cents US, unchanged from Tuesday.

The health-care sector had the largest decline, falling 1.9 per cent with Aurora Cannabis Inc. reversing some of Tuesday’s large gain by losing 12.7 per cent.

Materials was also lower despite higher gold prices as Barrick Gold Corp. and Kinross Gold Corp. were down more than 3.2 per cent.

The June gold contract was up US$6.50 at US$1,752.10 an ounce and the July copper contract was up 4.2 cents at US$2.46 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2020.


Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s official Opposition, speaks in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Notley says the government needs to sharply ramp up the number of contact tracers if it wants to get a handle on the rising number of COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Opposition calls for more COVID-19 contact tracers as case numbers rise

Alberta has about 800 tracers, and chief medical health officer Dr. Hinshaw says more are being recruited

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Hospital and health-care workers who staged a one-day illegal walkout returned to work Tuesday while politicians swapped recriminations and accusations in the house over the dispute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta health staff return to work, surgeries resume after one-day walkout

AHS estimated 157 non-emergency surgeries, most of them in Edmonton, had to be postponed as a result of the walkout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read