North American stock markets inch up to new record highs in quiet day of trading

North American stock markets inch up to new record highs in quiet day of trading
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TORONTO — North American stock markets inched to new record highs Tuesday on a quiet day of trading ahead of the American Thanksgiving holiday.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 3.02 points at 17,035.88, the highest close to date.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 55.21 points at 28,121.68. The S&P 500 index was up 6.88 points at 3,140.52, while the Nasdaq composite was up 15.44 points at 8,647.93. All three markets posted record closes after hitting intraday peaks.

“On the U.S. side stocks are just building on the prior couple of days we’ve seen gains,” said Crystal Maloney, head of equity research at CIBC Asset Management.

The U.S. market was helped by strong quarterly results from Best Buy that moved its shares 9.9 per cent higher. However, discount retailer Dollar Tree shares plunged 15.2 per cent on weak results and a lower outlook.

Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China were supportive of the day’s gains as senior negotiators from both sides held a phone call and vowed to continue to work towards a phase one agreement.

While the trade news is positive it’s not really new or noteworthy enough to move the markets up substantially, Maloney said in an interview.

“We’re not seeing a lot of big movements today other than some of those specific names,” she said, adding that some economic data released Tuesday was also positive.

“It’s just basically a continuation of the momentum that we’ve seen earlier this week.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.26 cents US compared with an average of 75.15 cents US on Monday.

Technology was the biggest gainer on the day on the TSX, rising by more than 2.1 per cent on a 5.1 per cent gain from Shopify Inc.

A tentative settlement to end the CN Rail strike pushed the railway’s shares up 1.3 per cent, helping the industrials sector.

Materials climbed on higher metals prices that helped Yamana Gold, Barrick Gold and Kinross Gold.

The December gold contract was up US$3.40 at US$1,460.30 an ounce and the December copper contract was up three cents at US$2.68 a pound.

Energy, financials and health care were the laggards.

Energy was down 1.3 per cent as shares of Encana Corp. and Crescent Point Energy Corp. lost 3.8 and 2.8 per cent respectively on lower natural gas prices.

The January crude contract was up 40 cents at US$58.41 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 5.1 cents at US$2.53 per mmBTU.

The influential financials sector was dragged 0.4 per cent lower by IGM Financial Inc. and Bank of Nova Scotia, which lost 0.8 per cent after reporting quarterly results that met analyst expectations.

Bank earnings over the next couple of weeks are expected to be up around four per cent year over year as the sector has bounced back over the last few months, said Maloney.

“You’ve seen a bit of a rebound in the Canadian housing market, fairly robust commercial lending environment and benign credit losses so it might just be giving back a little bit of that.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:IGM, TSX:BNS, TSX:ECA, TSX:CPG, TSX:YRI, TSX:ABX, TSX:K, TSX:SHOP, TSX:CNR, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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