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TSX ticks lower Monday, U.S. stock markets back off from last week's highs

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index ticked lower on Monday, weighed down by weakness in energy stocks, while U.S. markets also eased from the highs they hit last week.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 21.28 points at 21,531.07. The energy index was down 1.2 per cent amid lower oil prices.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 97.55 points at 38,989.83.The S&P 500 index was down 6.13 points at 5,130.95, while the Nasdaq composite was down 67.43 points at 16,207.51.

Markets are taking a pause before another week full of economic data and news, said Adelaide Chiu, portfolio manager, vice-president and head of responsible investing at NEI Investments.

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This week in the U.S., new data will come in on the job market, ISM services and other economic indicators, while the Bank of Canada’s rate decision comes Wednesday.

But despite the calm on indexes Monday, it’s a positive sign that markets are holding on to their gains, said Chiu, after U.S. markets broke records yet again last week.

As earnings season comes to a close, there have been some surprises to the upside that have helped quell investors’ worries, she said.

“I think some of the fear or worry in terms of what is to come with respect to growth ... has been addressed.”

Markets, meanwhile, have pushed back previous higher expectations for rate cuts in recent months, she said.

“The market was expecting rate cuts to happen a lot sooner.”

The Bank of Canada is expected to hold its key interest rate steady on Wednesday, said Chiu.

“I think they’re still trying to digest a lot of the data that’s come in,” she said, from cooling inflation to continued strength in the housing market.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to echo the Bank of Canada later in the month with a continued hold of its own key interest rate.

Recent inflation data south of the border came in stronger than expected.

The central banks are still waiting to see how the effects of their interest rate hikes continue to affect the economy, said Chiu.

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.68 cents UScompared with 73.72 cents US on Friday.

The April crude oil contract was down US$1.23 at US$78.74 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was up eight cents at US$1.92 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was up US$30.60 at US$2,126.30 an ounce and the May copper contract was down half a cent at US$3.86 a pound.

-- With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2024.

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

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press