Declining gold, oil prices push TSX, loonie lower
TMX Group tickers zoom across banners in Toronto on May 10, 2013. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, March 18, 2016 5:15AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 18, 2016 5:37PM EDT
Declining commodity prices pushed the Toronto stock market to a lower close Friday, while south of the border investors remained buoyed by recent news that the U.S. Federal Reserve will likely slow its pace of interest rate hikes.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index lost 124.23 points to 13,497.07 as oil and gold prices trended lower.
The loonie also traded lower, down 0.29 of a U.S. cent at 76.70 cents US, after climbing more than two U.S. cents over the previous two days.
"It's been a pretty solid couple of days, so people are just starting to take a little bit of a breather here," said Ian Riach of Franklin Templeton Investments.
The health-care sector was one of the biggest decliners, losing 2.17 per cent, as shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals slipped nearly 10 per cent.
Earlier this week, the pharmaceutical giant issued a severely disappointing earnings and outlook report that raised questions about its ability to pay its debts.
"The TSX is still very heavily influenced by Valeant Pharmaceuticals," said Riach.
"Despite its 75 per cent drop this year, it still has a pretty significant effect on the index itself, and we're seeing weakness there again."
Valeant's shares lost $3.73 to close at $34.93, their lowest price in about five years.
The consumer staples segment of the TSX also declined 2.17 per cent, while energy stocks slipped 1.37 per cent.
In commodities, the April contract for North American benchmark crude oil was down 76 cents at US$39.44 a barrel, while the much more heavily traded May contract fell 52 cents to $41.14.
May natural gas shed two cents to $1.99 per mmBtu, April gold lost $10.70 to US$1,254.30 an ounce and May copper slipped one cent to US$2.28 a pound.
It was a different story in New York, where investors remained buoyed by Wednesday's statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board that it would likely slow the pace of interest rate increases this year.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 120.81 points to 17,602.30, while the broader S&P 500 added 8.99 points to 2,049.58 and the Nasdaq advanced 20.66 points to 4,795.65.
The Fed had originally planned to hike its key interest rate four times this year, but on Wednesday said it now foresees only two increases in 2016.
In European trading, Germany's DAX rose 0.5 per cent and France's CAC 40 gained 3.4 per cent, while Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent.
Asian markets were mixed, with Japan's Nikkei 225 falling 1.3 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.8 per cent and China's main Shanghai composite index rose 1.7 per cent.