TORONTO — Canada's main stock index and the Canadian dollar lost ground Monday even though crude oil hit a near four-year high and Barrick Gold announced a large deal that drove up the gold sector.
The November crude contract rose US$1.30 to $72.08 per barrel, the highest level since November 2014.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 16.81 points at 16,207.32, after hitting a low of 16,198.69 on 234.9 million shares traded.
The energy sector led, gaining 2.5 per cent on the day, led by Baytex Energy Corp., which was up nearly 11 per cent. Big name oil companies such as ARC Resources, Imperial Oil and Husky Energy were also up.
RNC Minerals had the biggest day with its shares rising 105 per cent to $1.15 on 71.5 million shares traded.
The health-care and gold sectors also closed in positive territory while base metals and telecom led on the downside.
It's ironic that the stock market wasn't helped by the big move in crude, says Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.
"You'd figure with a big move like that it still hasn't gotten the TSX in the black unfortunately," he said in an interview.
Currie said the Canadian dollar also wasn't helped, likely reflecting that investors clearly anticipate that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this week, which usually hurts the loonie.
The loonie was trading at 77.31 cents US, down from an average of 77.42 cents US on Friday.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 181.45 points to 26,562.05. The S&P 500 index was down 10.30 points at 2,919.37, while the Nasdaq composite gained 6.29 points to 7,993.25.
The market activity came after China reportedly pulled out of trade talks with the U.S. after the world's two largest economies began taxing larger amounts on each other's goods.
Reports that the top Justice Department official overseeing the Trump-Russia investigation either resigned or will be fired made investors nervous, said Currie.
"As soon as that news came out we saw the Dow fall about 100 right on that news and it sort of stayed down," he said.
Currie said investors are wondering if Attorney General Jeff Sessions is next after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
"If he's fired there's betting that Sessions is going to be next."
The November natural gas contract was up 5.5 cents at US$3.03 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract was up US$3.10 at US$1,204.40 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 2.1 cents to US$2.84 a pound.
The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had incorrect number for the TSX and for the Canadian dollar.