TSX flat, while major U.S. indexes continue rally and hit record highs

TORONTO – The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index stayed relatively flat Friday, while major U.S. indexes continued to rally following their shortened trading day.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 recorded their fourth consecutive day of record gains, excluding Thursday when U.S. stock exchanges stayed closed for American Thanksgiving.

The Dow Jones advanced 68.96 points to 19,152.14 and the S&P 500 was up 8.63 points to 2,213.35.

The Nasdaq composite also hit a record high, rising 18.24 points to 5,398.92.

The three American indexes closed at 1 p.m. ET, the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday.

“Overall, it’s just been a great run since the election,” said Allan Small, a senior adviser at Holliswealth.

Small said the markets are reacting to U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s pro-growth strategies, as well as the more than likely scenario that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its next two-day meeting starting Dec. 13.

In Toronto, however, the S&P/TSX composite index saw little movement, gaining a meagre 0.24 of a point to 15,075.44.

That came from the day’s slump in oil prices, said Small. The January crude contract fell $1.90 to US$46.06 per barrel.

Energy stocks on the S&P/TSX composite index shed an average of more than 1.5 per cent.

Oil prices fell as investors anticipate the outcome of an upcoming Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting Nov. 30, where the group is expected to announce an agreement to cut production.

The markets see a potential problem if countries that don’t belong to OPEC offset any potential decrease in oil production, or that OPEC members could not follow through on the reached agreement, Small said.

“There’s a lot of skeptics out there and I think you’re seeing that reflected in the price of oil today,” he said.

The commodity-sensitive loonie was at 73.93 cents US, down 0.19 of a U.S. cent.

The price of gold continued its drop, shedding $10.90 to US$1,178.40 an ounce. The last time it settled below that was Feb. 5 at $1,157.70 per ounce.

The precious metal is having a hard time against the strengthening U.S. dollar, said Small, as it’s a hedge against the currency. When the American dollar is strong, bullion tends to lose value.

He expects gold to continue on this downward trend.

Elsewhere in commodities, January natural gas rose 5.5 cents to US$3.20 per mmBTU and December copper contracts were up 6.1 cents at US$2.67 a pound.

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