Canada’s main stock index reversed early losses and finished slightly higher on Tuesday, despite a drop in precious metals miners as gold prices dipped to a more than two-week low.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was unofficially up 24.72 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 16,426.47.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1 per cent, the most among 11 major sectors.
Spot gold was down 0.24 per cent at $1,274.20 an ounce as the dollar strengthened and improved risk appetite took the sheen off bullion.
The energy sector was up 0.7 per cent as oil futures were steady on Tuesday. The prospect of mounting U.S.-Iran tensions disrupting supply was offset by concerns that a lengthy trade war between Washington and Beijing would limit crude demand.
Brent crude futures settled at $72.18 a barrel, gaining 21 cents. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at $62.99 a barrel, down 11 cents ahead of the front month contract for June delivery expiring on Tuesday. The July contract settled at $63.13 a barrel.
“The situation with China is as bearish as the Iran situation is bullish. That’s why I think we continue to be here in a stalemate,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
The heavyweight financials sector rose 0.6 per cent, while the industrials sector fell 0.4 per cent.
Shares of technology companies helped lift Wall Street on Tuesday after the United States temporarily eased curbs on China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, alleviating investor concerns about pressure on future corporate results in the sector.
U.S. President Donald Trump added Huawei to a trade blacklist last week, leading several companies to suspend business with the world’s largest telecom equipment maker, a move that could weigh on their sales. Chipmakers, many of which sell to Huawei, bore the brunt of Monday’s sell-off.
But late on Monday, the United States granted the Chinese telecoms equipment maker a license to buy U.S. goods until Aug. 19. The development offered a reprieve to shares of chipmakers, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index gaining 2.1 per cent to end a three-day slump.
Shares of Huawei suppliers such as Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Xilinx Inc and Broadcom Inc rose between 1 per cent and 4.6 per cent.
Technology shares rose 1.2 per cent to add the most gains to the S&P 500 among the benchmark index’s major sectors.
“The groups that have been beaten up for the past couple of days have gotten a reprieve,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Advisory Services in Atlanta. “Huawei cast a cloud over tech. It’s so broad-based in how many companies connect with it.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 197.43 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 25,877.33, the S&P 500 gained 24.13 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 2,864.36 and the Nasdaq Composite added 83.35 points, or 1.08 per cent, to 7,785.72.
Even with Tuesday’s gains, the S&P 500 is still on track to post its first monthly decline of the year. The index is now 3 per cent away from its all-time high on May 1 as it has been pressured by mounting concerns about a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.
“The market is so tied to a single news story that it’s creating sharp swings on a daily basis,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York. “Much of the market volatility is also about the fact that we’re up 20 per cent from the lows of late December. It’s fully valued right here.”
Among the S&P 500’s major sectors, only defensive consumer staples shares traded lower, down 0.3 per cent.
Shares of Kohl’s Corp and J.C. Penney Co Inc plunged after the two department stores’ quarterly results missed expectations.
Kohl’s shares dropped 12.3 per cent, the largest decline among S&P 500 companies, after the retailer cut its full-year profit forecast and reported quarterly same-store sales and profit that missed expectations.
Shares of rival J.C. Penney fell 7.0 per cent after the company also reported a bigger-than-expected fall in quarterly same-store sales.
With 463 of S&P 500 companies having posted first-quarter results, 75.2 per cent have topped analysts’ profit expectations. Analysts now expect first-quarter earnings growth of 1.4 per cent, a sharp turnaround from the 2 per cent loss expected on April 1, according to Refinitiv data.