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S&P/TSX composite ends down more than 200 points, U.S. markets also lower

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index ended down along with U.S. markets as central bank leaders emphasize the need to raise rates, while oil prices and energy stocks rose in reaction to news of production cuts by OPEC plus.

The Bank of Canada’s governor Tiff Macklem held the line on rate hikes in a speech Thursday, saying more rate hikes are still needed to cool inflation, despite signs the market has been cooling in response to a series of aggressive hikes by the central bank.

Macklem’s speech didn’t come as a surprise, said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments, but it remains to be seen whether the bank follows through.

But the biggest question of all is what the Fed will announce later in the quarter when it comes to interest rates, he said.

“The Fed has made two mistakes. First, they waited too long to start hiking, and then when they started hiking, they went probably a little too fast. And now the risk is they're going to break something as they're trying to deal with inflation,” said Taylor.

“The big debate’s going to be whether the cure is going to be worse than the disease.”

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 256.08 points at 18,979.01.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 346.93 points at 29,926.94. The S&P 500 index was down 38.76 points at 3,744.52, while the Nasdaq composite was down 75.33 points at 11,073.31.

Market sentiment is still better than last week, said Taylor, but after the two-day rally to begin the quarter, investors are back in wait-and-see mode.

"What are they waiting for? Right now, U.S. payroll data, which comes out on Friday; U.S. inflation data, which comes next week; and earnings season," said Taylor.

Investors are hoping for bad news from those indicators, he said, because signs of cooling could indicate that rate hikes are on the way out.

"There's still a good chance that we do get a rally into year end," said Taylor. "We just have to get through some of these central bank meetings and earnings and then maybe we can set up for a bit of a relief rally."

Taylor thinks the Bank of Canada may be among the first to pivot from quantitative tightening, after the Bank of England reversed course and Australia’s central bank cooled down the pace of its hikes.

"I think central banks are starting to get the message that hiking too fast risks causing a financial crisis," said Taylor.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.89 cents US compared with 73.31 cents US on Wednesday.

The November crude contract was up 69 cents at US$88.45 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was up 4.2 cents at US$6.97 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was unchanged at US$1,720.80 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 5.5 cents at US$3.45 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

The Canadian Press