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Energy prices power S&P/TSX composite higher, U.S. stock markets mixed

·3 min read

TORONTO — Energy helped to power Canada's main stock index higher to start the week as crude oil prices rose to a near three-month high and natural gas soared 10 per cent to the highest level since late 2013.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 60.76 points to 20,463.42 after hitting an intraday high of 20,503.83.

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, attributed the continued energy pricing gains to an improvement in demand as the Delta variant is carrying less of a punch while oil supply is being constrained by OPEC and its allies.

"I think that people are probably thinking, 'Well, maybe we won't have the lockdowns that we had in the past' because particularly in the U.S., numbers did look like they've been turning the corner and so that certainly helps," he said in an interview.

The energy sector climbed 3.1 per cent with shares of Enerplus Corp. up 10.2 per cent, followed by Crescent Point Energy Corp. at 10.1 per cent, MEG Energy Corp. at 7.6 per cent and Whitecap Resources Inc. each at 7.1 per cent.

The November crude contract was up US$1.47 at US$75.45 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was up 53.1 cents at US$5.73 per mmBTU.

The more optimistic outlook also helped the transportation sector with Air Canada shares rising 3.5 per cent.

"That's a sector that had been hit pretty hard by the pandemic, so I think we are seeing some interest in some of the pandemic impacted sectors as well. Just probably a feeling that a Delta wave isn't going to have the impact on the economy that previous waves had," Cieszynski said.

The Canadian dollar traded for 79.13 cents US, its highest level in 11 trading sessions and compared with 78.86 cents US on Friday.

Health care gained 2.7 per cent led by Aurora Cannabis Inc., which gained seven per cent as it released quarterly results.

The heavyweight financials sector moved higher with shares of several Canadian banks increasing as the U.S. 10-year bond yield climbed above 1.5 per cent for the first time since the beginning of July. It reached a high of 1.517 per cent but ended the day below the threshold.

Materials was also higher despite flat metals prices.

The December gold contract was up 30 cents at US$1,752.00 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 0.4 of a cent at US$4.29 a pound.

In New York, stock markets were mixed. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 71.37 points at 34,869.37. Technology companies caused the S&P 500 index to lose 12.37 points at 4,443.11, while the Nasdaq composite was down 77.73 points at 14,969.97.

Contentious votes in Congress on infrastructure spending and raising the debt ceiling will continue to raise concerns before some sort of deal is likely, said Cieszynski.

In Canada, GDP and manufacturing PMI numbers come out on Friday. September jobs numbers aren't available until Oct. 8.

Cieszynski said the historically choppy month of September is winding down with the prospect that the fluctuations will continue into early October.

"We might still see some choppiness through until earning season picks up in a couple of weeks."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ERF, TSX:CPG, TSX:MEG, TSX:WCP, TSX:AC, TSX:ACB, TSX:TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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