Canadian Shares Subdued In Lackluster Trade

(RTTNews) - The Canadian stock market was swinging between gains and losses Monday morning with investors somewhat cautious amid rising geopolitical tensions.

A sharp jump in crude oil prices pushed up energy stocks, but losses in healthcare and a few stocks from materials, financial and consumer discretionary sections weighed on the market.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 11.21 points, or 0.07% at 17,054.93 a few minutes past noon. The index touched a low of 17,041.16 ad a high of 17,076.29 this morning.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada showed the Industrial Product Price Index in Canada dropped for a sixth straight month in November, falling 0.4% from a year earlier, after seeing a 1.4% percent fall in the previous month.

Month-on-month, the Industrial Product Price Index in Canada went up 0.1% from a month earlier in November 2019, after a revised flat reading in October and slightly below market estimates of a 0.2% gain.

According to another report from Statistics Canada, the Raw Materials Price Index rose 1.5% month-over-month in November, after a 1.9% decline in the prior month. Year-on-year, raw materials prices jumped 9.3%, after a revised 5.1% drop in October.

In the energy space, Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO) gained 5.8%, Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO) and Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO) were up 2.5 to 4%, while Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Vemilion Energy (VET.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO), Encana Corp (ECA.TO) and Parex Resources (PXT.TO) gained 1.5 to 2%.

Cannabis shares Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO), Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) lost 4.5 to 5.1%.

Kinross Gold (K.TO), Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) declined, while B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) gained about 2.8%.

In geopolitical news, Iran vowed "severe revenge" against the U.S. for killing top commander Qassem Soleimani last Thursday, and said that it would no longer abide by the limits contained in the 2015 nuclear deal. Some reports from Baghdad say the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad was targeted in an attack on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has threatened Iraq with harsh sanctions if the country forced out U.S. troops, after the Iraq parliament voted in favor of a resolution calling for an end to the foreign military presence in the country. That includes an estimated 5,200 troops stationed to help fight Islamic State extremists.

The escalating tensions in the Middle East pushed up crude oil prices early on in the session. But prices dropped subsequently and around noon, crude oil futures for February were up just marginally at $63.17 a barrel.

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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