Saturday, November 26

Tech, healthcare stocks drag down TSX as rate worries persist

Article content

Canada’s main stock index hit a fresh two-week low on Thursday, weighed down by technology and healthcare stocks, as investors continued to fret over the pace of interest rate hikes by major central banks.

After opening with modest gains, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 0.31% to 19,125.01, its lowest level since Sept. 7.

Article content

Rate-sensitive technology stocks fell 1.5%, while healthcare stocks dropped 0.8%.

The benchmark TSX closed down nearly 1% on Wednesday, mirroring weak sentiment on Wall Street, after the US Federal Reserve delivered another supersized interest rate hike and promised to “keep at” its battle to beat down inflation.

Article content

All eyes are on the Bank of Canada’s policy decision next week, with traders pricing in 75% chance of a 50-basis-point rate hike after data this week signaled easing domestic inflationary pressures.

“I think the Bank of Canada is going to recognize that we have had three months of the Canadian economy shedding jobs,” said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategist at Edward Jones Investments.

“We have also seen the latest CPI print come in softer than expected, so maybe at the margin they might sound less hawkish than the Fed did yesterday.”

Canadian retail sales data on Friday could offer fresh clues on the health of the domestic economy and, in turn, drive monetary policy expectations.

The country’s energy sector rebounded 0.7% after Wednesday’s declines, helped by an increase in oil prices on the prospect of higher Chinese demand and heightened geopolitical risks. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Shounak Dasgupta)