TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index gained on Wednesday as rising prices for commodities such as oil and bullion bolstered the energy and mining sectors, which together make up almost a third of the index.
Oil prices jumped after three days of losses as U.S. crude output fell for the first time in two months. [O/R] Gold also rallied after a downbeat U.S. jobs report suggested policymakers there could delay a tightening of U.S. monetary policy. [GOL/]
Fund managers said Canadian trading would likely struggle to form a coherent narrative in coming weeks and months as a range of issues jostle for attention.
“It doesn’t feel very calm out there,” said Marcus Xu, portfolio manager at M.Y. Capital Management Corp in Vancouver. “We are entering a quarter that’s full of uncertainty, whether it is on corporate earnings, Fed interest rate (policy) or commodity prices. This quarter will be confusing and volatile.”
Trading in the benchmark Canadian index, which recorded a gain of 1.9 percent in the first quarter, has been choppy in recent months because of volatility in commodity prices.
Xu said he was sticking to a forecast of single-digit gains for the second quarter but that a pullback was also possible.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 40.11 points, or 0.27 percent, at 14,942.55. Six of the 10 main sectors ended lower.
“At least the fluctuations don’t seem too violent in scope,” said David Cockfield, portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. “While I’m getting more negative on the energy sector, and in particular the oil stocks, I am becoming more positive on the longer-term economic outlook,” he said.
Shares of energy producers gained 1.1 percent, resuming an upward trend that began in mid-March. Crescent Point Energy Corp (CPG.TO) gained 3.2 percent to C$29.14 and Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) added 0.7 percent to C$37.25.
Financial shares fell, with Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) slipping 1.1 percent to C$21.28.
Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Diane Craft