The Canadian stock market started the second month of 2023 on a slightly weak note, as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve’s latest rate-hike decision and other important economic releases. The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 16 points in Wednesday’s highly volatile session to 20,751 due mainly to big losses in the shares of consumer non-cyclicals and energy companies.
The TSX index opened lower in the morning after the U.S. non-farm employment and manufacturing numbers came out weaker than expected. Nonetheless, the Fed’s slowing pace of interest rate hikes supported buying in the afternoon, primarily in stock market sectors like consumer cyclicals, healthcare, and technology, helping the index trim most of its losses by the end of the session. Notably, the U.S. central bank raised key interest rates by 25 basis points in the January meeting compared to its December rate hike of 50 basis points.
Top TSX Composite movers and active stocks
Shares of TC Energy (TSX:TRP) slipped 5.6% in the last session to $54.10 per share after the company announced an update related to its Coastal GasLink project. The Canadian energy firm informed investors that the project has faced cost pressures due to negative factors like labour market challenges, contractor underperformance and disputes, and unexpected weather conditions. As a result, TC Energy increased its cost estimates to complete the Coastal GasLink project by 29.5% to $14.5 billion. After the recent decline, TRP stock now trades without any notable year-to-date change after sliding by 8.2% in 2022.
Other energy stocks, such as Spartan Delta, Superior Plus, and Enerplus, also dived by at least 4% each in the last session as a result of weakening oil and gas prices.
On the flip side, Linamar, BlackBerry, Centerra Gold, and Granite REIT rose at least 4.8% each, making them the top gainers on the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday.
Based on their daily trade volume, Enbridge, Suncor Energy, Manulife Financial, and Crescent Point Energy were the most active Canadian stocks for the day.
Early Thursday morning, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices continued to slide down. In contrast, precious metals prices were showcasing strength. Given these mixed signals from the commodities market, I expect the main TSX index to remain largely flat at the open today. While no key domestic economic releases are due, investors may want to keep an eye on the weekly jobless claims data from the U.S. this morning.
On the corporate events front, Canadian companies like Canada Goose, Lightspeed Commerce, BCE , Rogers Communications, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, Methanex, and Open Text are expected to announce their latest quarterly earnings on February 2.