CANADA STOCKS-Toronto shares slip after central bank says rates not coming down soon

Credit: REUTERS/Chris Helgren

By Nivedita Balu

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index wrapped up the week closing out its worst day in two months on Friday, hit by weakness in energy stocks and central bank Governor Tiff Macklem's comments that interest rates were not coming down any time soon.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 249.65 points, or 1.2%, at 20,529.15.

The Bank of Canada on Friday made clear that interest rates would not come down soon, putting it on a divergent path from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which said this week that easing could be on the timetable.

"The Fed is going to do what they need to do. We're going to focus on what needs to be done here in Canada," Macklem told a business audience in Toronto after a speech.

Energy .SPTTEN was among the top decliners, down 2.5%, while real estate .GSPTTRE dropped 2.4%. Telecoms .GSPTTTS fell 3%.

However, the benchmark index posted a weekly rise of 1% as the global risk appetite increased after the U.S. Federal Reservesignaled earlier this week that it could look at interest rate reductions next year.

New York Fed President John Williamsput a dent in those expectations after he pushed back on surging market expectations of interest rate cuts. Following William's comments, traderspared bets on 2024 rate reductions.

Across the border, Wall Street ended little changed but registered a seventh straight week of gains in its longest weekly winning streak since 2017 after this week's dovish pivot by the Federal Reserve..N

"We've had such a big run since the 1st of November, so probably some sort of profit taking has to be expected just because there's so much of a move in the last few weeks," said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments.

On the data front, Canadian housing starts plunged 22% in November compared with the previous month, while a separate reading showed U.S. business activity picked up in December.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid and Ken Ferris)

((Shashwat.Chauhan@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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