Canada’s main stock index slipped for a fifth straight session on Wednesday, weighed down by resource stocks, while data showed annual inflation rate rose at its fastest pace since 2011.
The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index was unofficially down 61.48 points, or 0.3%, at 20,302.11.
Energy stocks slid 2% with crude prices fell for a fifth day, as investors remain worried about the outlook for fuel demand as COVID-19 cases surge worldwide just as more supply reaches the market from large global producers, including the United States.
Oil benchmarks have been under pressure for the last few weeks due to the rise in infections caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus worldwide. Several countries have re-introduced travel restrictions and air traffic has softened in recent weeks.
Brent crude ended down 80 cents, or 1.2%, at $68.23 a barrel. The global benchmark has lost 11% in the last 13 trading days dating to the end of July. U.S. crude futures settled down $1.13, or 1.7%, to $65.46 a barrel.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, shed 1.7%, as silver prices lost almost half a percent, and gold came under pressure.
Among the bright spots was luxury parka maker Canada Goose Holdings Inc, which climbed 5.6% on announcing a share repurchase program.
Numbers from Statistics Canada showed the country’s annual inflation rate accelerated to a stronger-than-expected 3.7% in July, mostly driven by higher shelter costs.
However, consumer price index common, which the Bank of Canada calls the best gauge of the economy’s underperformance, was 1.7%, below analyst expectations of 1.8%.
“As the Bank of Canada’s preferred core measure remained unchanged at 1.7%, this report is unlikely to alter the path for monetary policy,” said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager for global asset allocation at Fiera Capital. “Policymakers have reiterated that the latest pricing pressures are likely to be transitory in nature.”
Business jet maker Bombardier Inc rose almost 6% after a six-day losing streak, while the heavyweight financials sector inched up 0.1%.
BlackBerry Ltd gained 4.3% after U.S. brokerage Canaccord Genuity said it believed a cybersecurity flaw in a software designed by the company will have a minimal impact to its long-term prospects.
Wall Street’s main indexes dropped on Wednesday after the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month showed officials felt the employment benchmark for decreasing support for the economy “could be reached this year.”
Most S&P 500 sectors ended lower, with energy and consumer staples among the weakest performers.
The minutes of the July 27-28 Fed meeting showed different groups worried about inflation and the need to prepare to combat it, with others saying it would take time, and require patience from the Fed, to put Americans back to work.
Investors are looking for signs about when the central bank will rein in its easy money policies, including tapering its bond-buying program, which have been a crucial support as the S&P 500 has roughly doubled from its March 2020 low.
“The Fed minutes did nothing to dispel the thought that tapering will begin soon,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “We are closer to the end than the middle of tapering, and people don’t know how to react to it.”
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 377 points, or 1.07%, to 34,966.28, the S&P 500 lost 47.64 points, or 1.07%, to 4,400.44 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 130.27 points, or 0.89%, to 14,525.91.
Focus now shifts to the Fed’s annual research conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, next week for any read about the central bank’s next steps. Many analysts expect the Fed to announce its plan to taper asset purchases as early as the Sept. 21-22 policy meeting.
“We have gotten a rash of both earnings and economic data over the past several weeks that broadly is pointing to a positive outlook for the fundamental backdrop to the market,” said Craig Fehr, investment strategist at Edward Jones. “The one wildcard at this stage is going to be the role Fed stimulus is going to play.”
In company news, shares of Lowe’s Cos Inc jumped after the home improvement chain’s quarterly report. Lowe’s said professional builders and handymen were rushing back to its stores, boosting sales.
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