S&P/TSX composite jumps along with U.S. markets as U.S. Treasury yields retreat
The S&P/TSX composite index snapped a six-day losing streak Wednesday as it made substantial gains along with U.S. markets after U.S. Treasury yields retreated on speculation central banks may ease up on restrictive, inflation-fighting policies.
Markets in Canada and the U.S. were up around two per cent on the day after the Bank of England said it would buy government debt to stabilize the economy, fuelling the sense of a potential wider reversal, said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer of Purpose Investments.
“This morning started off with some pretty big moves with the Bank of England coming out and basically reversing policy and starting to buy back bonds to try and stabilize the currency,” said Taylor.
“I think that added a little bit of comfort in the markets, essentially getting close to a sign that globally, central banks are going to do some sort of pivot and back off their hawkish stance.”
The Bank of England's announcement, coming after a debt-fuelled tax cut plan released last week rattled the British pound, helped push down U.S. 10-year Treasury yields from four per cent overnight to around 3.7 per cent late afternoon Wednesday.
“This has got to be one of the bigger intraday percentage moves you've seen in bonds in a long time,” said Taylor. “That's a pretty big deal and what it might be signalling is we're really reaching the peak of that hawkishness, that the Fed's been really aggressive and talking rate hikes, and now we are seeing a glimmer that maybe we've hit the max.”
The breathing room helped push the S&P/TSX composite index up 341.01 points, or 1.9 per cent, to close at 18,648.92, rising from the low for the year reached a day earlier.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 548.75 points, or 1.9 per cent, at 29,683.74. The S&P 500 index ended up 71.75 points, or almost two per cent, at 3,719.04, while the Nasdaq composite was up 222.13 points, or 2.1 per cent, at 11,051.64.
The retreat in U.S. Treasury yields also indirectly helped boost commodity, said Taylor.
“The big thing with commodities is generally, everything we look at is priced in U.S. dollars. So when the U.S. dollar goes up, most commodities go down in price. But what we're seeing with the move down in yields, we're also seeing the move down in the U.S. dollar, so that's, that's supportive of a lot of commodities.”
The November crude contract was up US$3.65 at US$82.15 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was up 20 cents at US$6.96 per mmBTU.
Taylor said the energy sector also likely got a boost from the energy crisis in Europe, which looked worse after suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines on Tuesday.
Rising oil and gas prices helped push up the S&P/TSX energy index by 4.05 per cent, including gains of 4.5 per cent from Suncor Energy Inc. and 9.2 per cent from Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd.
The December gold contract was up US$33.80 at US$1,670.00 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 7.5 cents at US$3.36 a pound.
Rising gold prices helped push the S&P/TSX global gold index up 5.7 per cent, including gains of 5.2 per cent for Barrick Gold Corp. and 6.4 per cent for Kinross Gold Corp.
The Canadian dollar traded for 73.21 cents US compared with the more than two-year low of 72.85 cents US reached on Tuesday as it got a bounce from equity gains along with a boost in commodities, but especially from the dip in the U.S. dollar, said Taylor.
“The big thing is it's all U.S. dollar related, that given some of the moves in bond yields and in the fears of a global recession, people moved toward the U.S. as a safe haven asset. That really crushed every other currency in relative terms. So as people start to move back a little bit from that, all the other currencies are benefiting.”
National Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported its fourth-quarter profit fell four per cent compared with a year ago. The increased payment came as National Bank said it earned $738 million or $2.08 per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, down from $769 million or $2.17 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Revenue totalled $2.33 billion, up from $2.21 billion a year earlier.
Royal Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported a fourth-quarter profit of $3.88 billion compared with $3.89 billion in the same quarter last year. The bank said Wednesday it will now pay a quarterly dividend of $1.32 per share, an increase of four cents.
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