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Fed's positive economic outlook moves S&P/TSX composite higher for third straight day

·3 min read

TORONTO — A positive economic and employment outlook by the U.S. Federal Reserve propelled North American stock markets higher for a third straight day and pared losses in the choppy month of September.

Stock markets generally do well when the economy is doing well, said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc., even though they were also supported by financial engineering to address the impact of COVID-19

The U.S. central bank supported positive vibes by giving "a fairly bullish outlook" for the economy, hinted that bond purchases will begin to be tapered in November and said rate hikes will begin the end of 2022 and proceed in several stages through 2024.

"The Fed's giving you confidence that they believe the economic backdrop is better than perhaps people thought a few days ago or what they thought at their last couple of meetings," he said in an interview.

Despite the eventual reduction in stimulus, monetary policy will remain accommodative with rates remaining very low, Archibald said.

"That's giving confidence to equity investors to keep money coming into into stocks."

In addition, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed an investor worry by saying Thursday that agreement has been reached on a stopgap funding bill that will avert a government shutdown.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 60.44 points to 20,461.93. It's down 0.6 per cent in September and up 17.4 per cent so far in 2021.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 506.50 points at 34,764.82. The S&P 500 index was up 53.34 points at 4,448.98, while the Nasdaq composite was up 155.39 points at 15,052.24.

The cyclical sectors of the market performed best with energy, financials and consumer discretionary all rising on the TSX.

Energy increased 2.8 per cent on a climb in energy prices in response to the positive economic outlook with crude oil prices rising to their highest level since the end of July.

The November crude contract was up US$1.07 at US$73.30 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was up 18.8 cents at US$5.04 per mmBTU.

Arc Resources Ltd. increased 5.4 per cent. followed by Vermilion Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc.

Tourmaline Oil Corp. shares gained 4.3 per cent after the company announced late Wednesday that it was raising its dividend, paying a special dividend and upgrading its outlook.

The Canadian dollar traded for 79.03 cents US compared with 78.39 cents US on Wednesday.

The heavyweight financials sector rose one per cent with the country's banks increasing as much as 1.6 per cent on the day.

Technology was moved higher by a 10.1 per cent increase in BlackBerry Ltd. in response to its latest quarterly results. And industrials was up slightly even as shares of SNC-Lavalin Inc. dropped 2.3 per cent after the RCMP laid bribery charges against two former executives, the company and a subsidiary.

Utilities and materials were the biggest laggards. Materials lost 1.5 per cent on lower metals prices.

The December gold contract was down US$29.00 at US$1,749.80 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 2.1 cents at US$4.23 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2021.


Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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