TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index will notch only minor gains by year-end, a Reuters poll found, as investors remain cautious about global growth, the U.S. election in November, and whether oil prices will hold on to their recent strength.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE will rise only marginally in the remainder of 2016, as financial markets grapple with the long-term implications of Britain's recent vote to leave the European Union and contemplate the possibility of a Donald Trump U.S. presidency.
"I think uncertainty over Brexit and the U.S. election will drag on stocks in the second half of the year," said Colin Cieszynski, a senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.
The median forecast from a poll of 26 strategists, taken in the past two weeks, was for the index to get to 14,500 by the end of the year, up 1 percent from Monday's close of 14,361.88 but 11 percent above the 13,009.95 where it ended last year.
"Considerable turbulence is likely," said Subodh Kumar from StrategeInvest Inc.
The index is expected to get to 14,800 by mid-2017 and to extend those gains to 15,333 by the end of next year.
"Longer term, I expect the global economy to resume growth or the central banks step in," CMC's Cieszynski added.
While those polled almost unanimously said Brexit would not directly cause another global financial crisis, it was widely listed as a major headwind.
"Deflation is kryptonite to the global financial system and it could also lead to drastically lower stock markets," said Matt Skipp, a portfolio manager for the SW8 Strategy Fund.
Skipp said Brexit itself would not create a crisis but that its deflationary impact could contribute to an eventual financial collapse.
Others were even more negative.
"Brexit is the Bear Stearns warning ahead of a Lehman moment, with about 4-6 months before the repercussions become apparent," said Gavin Graham, chief strategy officer at Integris Pension Management Corp.
Questions about the resiliency of global demand for oil, a major Canadian export, also caused those polled some concern.
Still, one part of the TSX is seen thriving in the event of global market turmoil. The exchange has a large number of gold mining issues, which would benefit from uncertainty that pushes investors to the safety of bullion.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernadette Baum