The TSX rose for its 12th straight session Thursday, even as the energy sector came under pressure from a pullback in oil prices. That was the Canadian benchmark stock index’s longest winning streak in nearly three years.
On Wall Street, the Dow was weighed down by a collapse in IBM shares after a disappointing quarterly report, but the Nasdaq gained and the S&P 500 index touched a record high with help from high-profile stocks such as Tesla Inc.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 24.20 points, or 0.1%, at 21,212.39, a record closing high.
“It’s a combination of high commodity prices and then the positive momentum that we’ve seen in the labour market,” said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategist at Edward Jones. “I think that’s what’s driving the strength and outperformance for domestic equities.”
Since the start of the year, the TSX has advanced 21.7%, while the S&P 500 is up 21.1%.
Data earlier this month showed that Canadian employment has recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Gains on Thursday were led by technology, which rose 1.2%. Industrials also advanced 1.2%, while consumer staples ended 0.7% higher.
Energy was a drag, falling 1.5% as crude oil prices pulled back from multi-year highs. Still, energy is up about 10% from its low on Oct. 4.
Rogers Communications Inc fell 1.8% after the media company reported third-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates as the pandemic continues to dampen growth at its ads and wireless businesses.
In the U.S., among the S&P 500’s 11 major sectors, the biggest boost for the benchmark came from consumer discretionary stocks and the technology index, while energy stocks were the biggest drag as crude oil futures fell on concerns about demand.
“For the most part you’re dealing with a slightly risk-off day with people going back to more defensive sectors” including big technology companies, said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“You’re seeing oil down a little bit today so potentially there’s some global growth concerns. You’re seeing some inflation concerns as well.”
However, the CBOE Volatility index, also referred to as Wall Street’s fear gauge, closed at its lowest level since February 2020. Shortly after that date, the volatility index had climbed as COVID-19 brought the global economy its knees.
The VIX’s low level implies that investors do not see a big decline or upswing for stocks ahead despite widespread concerns about supply-chain problems hiking costs, according to Shawn Cruz, senior market strategist at TD Ameritrade.
“The market may be saying the supply-chain issues that are driving up costs are going to be transitory because markets are discounting mechanisms,” pricing in what investors expect to happen in the future, Cruz said.
The strategist also pointed to earlier data showing that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 19-month low last week, suggesting a tightening labor market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.26 points, or 0.02%, to 35,603.08, the S&P 500 gained 13.59 points, or 0.30%, to 4,549.78 and the Nasdaq Composite added 94.02 points, or 0.62%, to 15,215.70.
Analysts were expecting S&P 500 third-quarter earnings to rise 33.7% year-on-year, with about 100 company reports in so far, according to the latest data from Refinitiv.
Tesla was the Nasdaq’s biggest boost, rising more than 3%, as investors digested the electric car maker’s upbeat earnings, despite a supply-chain warning.
American Airlines finished up 1.9% after the company posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, while Southwest Airlines Co fell 1.6% after it said it expected current quarter profit to remain elusive.
HP Inc gained 6.9% as brokerages raised their price targets on the stock after the personal computer and printer maker forecast upbeat fiscal 2022 adjusted profit and raised its annual dividend.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.00-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted 60 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 112 new highs and 37 new lows. On U.S. exchanges 10.07 billion shares changed hands compared with the 20-day moving average of 10.27 billion.
Oil tumbled as a forecast for a warm U.S. winter put the brakes on a rally that drove Brent prices to a three-year high above US$86 a barrel early in the session on tight supply and a global energy crunch.
Winter weather in much of the United States is expected to be warmer than average, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released Thursday morning.
“The report, indicating drier and warmer conditions across the southern and eastern U.S., is putting pressure on the complex,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.
Brent crude fell $1.21 to $84.61, after reaching a session high of $86.10, highest since October 2018. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude settled down 92 cents to $82.50.
Prices had rallied on Wednesday when the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported tighter crude and fuel inventories, with crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub falling to a three-year low.
Read more: Stocks that saw action on Thursday - and why
Reuters, Globe staff
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