TORONTO – The five-day streak of record highs for Canada’s main stock index came to an end Friday while U.S. markets continued hitting new peaks ahead of a holiday weekend for traders on both sides of the border.
In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index lost 25.54 points at 15,838.63 after a positive session Thursday that marked an eight consecutive day of advances.
Real estate stocks racked up some of the biggest gains on the TSX, while materials, gold and base metals dragged down the index.
On Wall Street, stock indices inched ahead to record highs Friday, albeit barely, after a late afternoon push erased losses earlier in the day.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 4.28 points to 20,624.05 and the Nasdaq composite advanced 23.68 points at 5,838.58. The S&P 500 gained 3.94 points at 2351.16, capping the fourth straight week of gains for the index, its longest such streak since July.
“Certainly ‘Trumpenomics’ is one of the dominant market themes on the minds of investors today,” said Todd Mattina, a strategist and chief economist at Mackenzie Investments.
“It really represents a waiting game to get more clarity about the types of policies that Donald Trump will implement in the coming weeks,” he added, describing the U.S. leader’s economic package as a complex mix of helpful and hurtful policies.
“On the positive side of the ledger you’ve got tax reform, you’ve got deregulation. But on the unhelpful side you have increased economic policy uncertainty.”
Trump’s performance at a news conference Thursday, filled with jaw-dropping moments in which he aired feelings of personal grievance and referenced the political upside of war, “just reinforced that significant, very elevated degree of uncertainty on economic policy going forward,” Mattina added.
While Trump remains a dominant market theme, Mattina said overseas considerations also weigh heavily.
“Other important factors are increased political risk in Europe,” he said, pointing to France’s upcoming presidential election and concerns about the increasing odds of a win for Marine Le Pen, president of the National Front.
Like Trump, the leader of the far-right party has made her anti-immigrant and anti-European stance clear.
“There’s also Brexit-related concerns as the U.K. heads toward its so-called ‘cliff edge’ negotiations with the European Union at the end of March,” Mattina said.
In commodities, the April crude oil contract added three cents at US$53.78 per barrel, while the March contract for natural gas lost two cents at US$2.834 per mmBTU.
The April gold contract dropped $2.50 to US$1,239.10 an ounce and March copper fell 1.15 cents to US$2.707 per pound.
The Canadian dollar fell 0.11 of a U.S. cent at 76.34 cents US.
Stock markets in Toronto and New York will be closed Monday, with the United States marking Presidents Day and Canadians off for various provincial holidays, including Family Day in Ontario.
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