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S&P/TSX composite down slightly as energy stocks slide, U.S. stock markets rise

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index closed slightly lower Monday as losses in resource stocks offset gains in financials, while U.S. stock markets rose.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 13.18 points at 20,318.36.

"We've got this dichotomy playing out on the TSX where financials are doing well today ... and then you have energy," said Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at IG Wealth Management.

The TSX energy index was down 1.2 per cent on the day even as crude made a slight gain, but is still on the low end of its trading range of the past couple of years on oversupply concerns.

The other big drag on the overall index was Gildan Activewear Inc., which dropped almost 11 per cent after the company announced that longtime CEO and co-founder Glenn Chamandy was leaving the role. Chamandy said on Monday that he was terminated without cause.

"That's quite a shock, I would say, as far as the markets are concerned. (It's) still unknown in terms of what it means and why it transpired," said Petursson.

Financials, including insurers, got a boost in part after Manulife Financial Corp. rose 3.2 per cent on the day after announcing a deal to off-load risk on $6 billion of its long-term care insurance portfolio.

"It's a bit of a drag on company performance, so this would alleviate some of that pressure from their long-term care business," said Petursson.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average ended up 157.06 points at 36,404.93. The S&P 500 index was up 18.07 points at 4,622.44, while the Nasdaq composite was up 28.51 points at 14,432.49.

Markets are waiting to see what the next Federal Reserve rate announcement is on Wednesday, where analysts expect the central bank to hold its benchmark rate steady for a third consecutive time. The U.S. will report November consumer inflation data on Tuesday ahead of the latest decision.

Last week, the Bank of Canada held its rate steady in what Petursson said was a softer stance from the central bank.

"I think the Bank of Canada's statement was rather Dovish last week in that they really kind of set the stage for or solidified their position of a pause. I think the market is expecting the Fed to do the same."

He said he's not expecting the Fed to outright state that it's pausing.

"I think that the tone of the statement might be a little bit more balanced, as opposed to being a little bit more on the hawkish side as it's been over the last few meetings"

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.69 cents US compared with 73.59 cents US on Friday.

The January crude contract was up nine cents at US$71.32 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 15 cents at US$2.43 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract was down US$20.80 at US$1,993.70 an ounce and the March copper contract was down five cents at US$3.78 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2023.

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

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press