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The open: TSX slips as oil eases, investors brace for U.S. rate hike

The TSX logo is seen in Toronto in this file photo.

© Mark Blinch / Reuters

Canada's main stock index fell on Monday, led by the materials and energy sectors as oil prices slipped, and investors were cautious ahead of a near-certain U.S. interest rate hike this week.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 57.83 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 15,653.5.

Oil prices eased on Monday after rallying at the end of last week, but tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran helped limit losses.

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The TSX posted no new 52-week highs and one new low. Across all Canadian issues there were six new 52-week highs and eight new lows.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Canopy Growth Co, which rose 3.4 per cent, while the largest decliner was First Quantum Min, down 3.3 per cent.

Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Neovasc Inc, up 2.9 per cent at $0.18; Klondex Mines , up 66.7 per cent at $11.07.

Gold miner Klondex was up after U.S. miner Hecla Mining Co said it would buy the company in a $462-million cash-and-stock deal.

U.S. stocks fell on Monday, with the Nasdaq dropping more than 1 per cent, as Facebook's shares tumbled about 5 per cent on reports that data of 50 million users were misused.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 66.10 points or 0.88 per cent at 7,415.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 185.53 points or 0.74 per cent at 24,760.98 and the S&P 500 fell 17.67 points or 0.64 per cent at 2,734.34.

Facebook shares dropped, on track for their worst day in 16 months, on media reports that a political consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump's campaign gained inappropriate access to data on 50 million Facebook users.

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The S&P technology index, which has powered the stock market's near relentless rally, retreated 1.2 per cent.

Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet – all part of the so-called FAANG group of heavyweight stock, along with Facebook – were down between 0.7 per cent and 2.25 per cent.

The Federal Reserve's policy meeting, over Tuesday and Wednesday, is also in focus as investors brace for a near-certain interest rate hike this week and watch out for clues on the path of rate hikes.

While it is near certain that the Fed will raise rates by a quarter basis point on Wednesday, investors are more focused on whether policymakers think economic conditions are strong enough for four hikes this year, one more than the markets expect.

"I don't think anyone's expecting any surprises (from the Fed) ... but the bigger factor has been the surrounding the big technology companies, particularly Facebook," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"Just a re-examination of whether or not there are issues out there for all of the tech companies, regulatory or otherwise. They've been such leaders that it's spilling over into the general markets."

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All 11 S&P sectors were lower. Industrial stocks were again under pressure, falling 0.7 per cent ahead of the Group of 20 finance ministers meeting, where a key issue likely to be discussed is President Donald Trump's tariff plans.

Apple slipped 0.7 per cent after brokerage Nomura Instinet said its checks showed there was little improvement in demand for iPhones this year and lowered its sales estimate for the smartphone.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.68-to-1 ratio and for a 2.85-to-1 ratio, on the Nasdaq.


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