Technology and utilities push TSX up to end choppy week of trading; loonie dips

Technology and utilities push TSX up to end choppy week of trading; loonie dips
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TORONTO — The technology and utilities sectors pushed Canada’s main stock index higher to end another choppy week.

“It’s been very sloppy,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

“It’s very directionless, like the bulls and bears haven’t really had an opportunity to be able to really take control and drive things in either direction.”

He said the dips during the challenging month of September have presented buying opportunities for bargain hunters.

The volatility has been spurred by the lack of meaningful news to be a catalyst, Cieszynski said.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 153.09 points at 16,065.35. That’s down nearly 134 points from the prior Friday and a second straight losing trading week.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 358.52 points at 27,173.96. The S&P 500 index was up 51.87 points at 3,298.46, while the Nasdaq composite was up 241.29 points at 10,913.56.

Technology has been the main beneficiary after pulling back following several strong months.

“I think what we’re seeing is there’s a lot of money that goes running in and out of technology. The fast money, if you will, has been more focused on tech and on momentum and things like that,” he said in an interview.

The sector was the strongest on the TSX, gaining 2.6 per cent Friday as shares of Absolute Software Corp. and Shopify Inc. gained 7.5 and 6.1 per cent respectively on the day.

Utilities rose 1.9 per cent as nine of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were higher.

Energy and materials lost some ground after posting gains on Thursday.

Lower crude oil and natural gas prices pushed energy down 2.4 per cent with Vermilion Energy Inc. off 6.7 per cent and Seven Generations Energy Ltd. down 5.1 per cent.

The November crude oil contract was down six cents at US$40.25 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down 9.2 cents at nearly US$2.81 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.56 cents US compared with 74.77 cents US on Thursday.

Materials was slightly lower with First Majestic Silver Corp. losing 6.9 per cent as a stronger U.S. dollar moved gold prices lower. Meanwhile, paper producer Cascades Inc. surged 8.2 per cent.

The December gold contract was down US$10.60 at US$1,866.30 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 0.3 of a cent at US$2.97 a pound.

Cieszynski expects that the recent market roller-coaster will continue for the next couple of months, beyond the November U.S. election until the results and the progression of COVID-19 become clear.

“There’s enough uncertainty to keep things from going up very far and there’s enough support to keep things from going down very far and we’re just caught in the middle of this and just getting pushed in different directions without really getting very far.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ABT, TSX:SHOP, TSX:VET, TSX:VII, TSX:CAS, TSX:FR, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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