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U.S. and Canadian stock markets fall as investors digest strong Friday gains

TORONTO — North American stock markets opened the week a little lower as investors digested Friday's large gains induced by a strong U.S. jobs report.

Investors responded Monday with "a bit of cooling time" from Friday's numbers, said Les Stelmach, portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Canada.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 46.12 points at 16,950.85.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 105.46 points at 27,909.60. The S&P 500 index was down 9.95 points at 3,135.96, while the Nasdaq composite was down 34.70 points at 8,621.83.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.56 cents US compared with an average of 75.44 cents US on Friday.

Eight of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were lower, led by technology and consumer discretionary sectors.

Materials and energy were lower as the price of gold and crude oil slipped. Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. was down 6.3 per cent while Cameco Corp. was off 6.9 per cent.

The February gold contract was down 20 cents at US$1,464.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 3.35 cents at US$2.76 a pound.

The January crude contract was down 18 cents at US$59.02 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 10.2 cents at US$2.23 per mmBTU.

Despite Monday's small decrease, crude prices have been inching higher ahead of the public offering of a portion of Saudi Aramco.

"You knew they were going to make as good a launch of their Saudi Aramco IPO so I'm sure they're twisting arms as much as they can to ensure that people get a favourable move on Wednesday when the shares really become tradable," Stelmach said in an interview.

The health care sector rose 4.3 per cent on the day as Canopy Growth shares surged 14 per cent as the cannabis producer appointed veteran Constellation Brands executive David Klein as its new chief executive effective Jan. 14. He will replace Mark Zekulin, a founding employee at Canopy who served in a variety of roles including president, co-CEO and finally as CEO after co-founder Bruce Linton was ousted earlier this year.

Contributing to market softness was weak Chinese export data in November which shrank for a fourth consecutive month amid a protracted trade war with the U.S. However, imports grew in a sign that domestic stimulus was having a positive impact on consumer spending.

"It just shows that whatever stimulus measures are being used in China appear to be working," he said.

The data comes as time is running out to reach a deal before Sunday's threatened imposition of tariffs on about US$156 billion of more Chinese imports, including consumer goods.

"They're kind of running out of time as far as the Dec. 15 date for imposition of those tariffs," Stelmach said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2019.

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

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press