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S&P/TSX composite ticks lower Thursday, U.S. stock markets move higher


Canada's main stock index ticked lower Thursday amid broad-based weakness, while U.S. markets moved higher, led by the technology sector.

“It's definitely a quieter market today,” said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments.

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate Wednesday to 4.75 per cent after several months of holding it, in the latest move by the central bank to fight inflation.

“I think a lot of people are just digesting the moves we got yesterday,” Taylor said.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 40.99 points at 19,942.70.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 168.59 points at 33,833.61. The S&P 500 index was up 26.41 points at 4,293.93, while the Nasdaq composite was up 133.63 points at 13,238.52.

Markets in the U.S. are anticipating inflation data in the U.S. next week followed by the Federal Reserve's own rate announcement, said Taylor.

At this point, markets seem to expect a pause from the Fed next week, said Taylor. But the real question is whether it's a pause or simply a skip before further hikes.

The market is saying skip, said Taylor, but the inflation release before the bank's decision could change everything.

“I think what this does, though, is cause a lot of uncertainty. And in general, markets don't like uncertainty,” he said.

“It does feel again like the market's kind of trapped in this zone.”

The bond market is still eyeing rate cuts near the end of the year, noted Taylor, which he said is “too aggressive.”

U.S. markets saw somewhat of a reversal Thursday as tech gained back its losses, said Taylor, likely in part due to some weaker employment data. U.S. applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to their highest level since October 2021, though the labour market is still healthy.

However, he said tech's rally appears to be slowing overall, which could be positive for the other sectors.

“For the markets to be healthy, you need a broad-based rally,” he said.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.86 cents UScompared with 74.76 cents US on Wednesday.

The July crude contract was down US$1.24 cents at US$71.29 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was up two cents at US$2.35 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract was up US$20.20 at US$1,978.60 an ounceand the July copper contract was up four cents at US$3.80 a pound.

- With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.



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