Update: TSX Adds 11 Points Monday, Boosted by Energy, Dragged Down by Healthcare & Financials
Canada's main markets mirrored the general global trend of weakness in core bond and stock markets. Trading was lacklustre and cautious, however, with buyers sidelined given equities aren't far from all-time highs and yields are near year-to-date lows. The S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 11 points or 0.1% to close at 16,407. The TSX gained every day last week, for a 1.8% increase, and a 14.5% rise for 2019. South of the border, markets were mixed with the Dow Jones losing 83 points, the Nasdaq gaining 15 points and the S&P 500 up 3 points.
Among the TSX sectors, energy led advancers, rising 1.5% as crude oil climbed more than 2% to settle at US$64.40. Healthcare led decliners, falling 1.1%. Financials lost 0.1% while materials gained just 0.1% even as gold climbed above the US$1,300 per ounce level.
In stock news , energy stocks led the actively traded list, paced by Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO, +12%), Encana (ECA.TO, +1%) and Baytex Energy (BTE.TO, +5%).
In economic news, housing starts rose to 193k annualized units in March after slowing to 166k in February. The rebound was in line with market expectations and supports the view that February's decline was due to wintry weather. Starts for the quarter came in at their slowest pace since 2015, though that speaks more to the strength of homebuilding in recent years than it does weakness to start 2019.
Meanwhile, building permit values fell 5.7% in February after the 6.0% drop in January (revised from -5.5%). There was a 8.5% plunge in residential permits values that was driven by a fall in multi-family values in Ontario and B.C. Total multi-unit permit values dropped 16.4% while values for single units grew 4.0%. A mild 0.5% dip in non-residential permit values was evident in February.
The Canadian dollar was up more than four-tenths of a cent to 75.14 US.
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