TSX falls the most in one month as the Fed hikes rates

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell the most in one month on Wednesday, retreating from a 19-month high the previous day, with resource shares leading a broad-based sell-off as oil and gold fell after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 188.09 points, or 1.22 percent, at 15,197.18.

It was the sharpest drop since Nov. 11.

Still, the index has surged 32 percent since hitting a three-year low in January, with an agreement among major oil producers to cut output and the prospect of U.S. economic stimulus giving the rally some recent additional momentum.

The Fed raised interest rates by a quarter point and signaled a faster pace of increases in 2017 as the Trump administration takes over with promises to boost growth through tax cuts, spending and deregulation.

“We are going from ultra-low to very, very low (interest rates) and that is OK” for the market if the Fed is raising rates for the right reasons, such as for stronger economic growth, said Diana Avigdor, a portfolio manager and head of trading at Barometer Capital Management.

She expects energy, financial and industrial stocks to benefit in the current environment.

On Tuesday, the TSX touched its highest since May 2015 at 15,414.57.

The prospect of higher interest rates and a more business-friendly U.S. government may spur companies to borrow now to invest rather than wait, which would raise the outlook for productivity, Avigdor added.

The energy group fell 2.3 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2.8 percent.

Barrick Gold Corp tumbled 5.4 percent to C$19.54 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd declined 2.4 percent to C$44.77.

U.S. crude oil futures settled $1.94 lower at $51.04 a barrel as the U.S. dollar jumped after the Fed decision and after a jump in crude inventories at the biggest U.S. storage center renewed concerns about a glut. [O/R]

Gold turned lower and tapped the lowest in more than 10 months, also pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar. [GOL/]

All of the index’s 10 main groups ended lower, with the heavyweight financials group falling 0.5 percent and industrials declining 1.1 percent.

Royal Bank of Canada retreated 0.6 percent to C$90.67, while Canadian National Railway Co fell 1.1 percent to C$88.90.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by W Simon and Jonathan Oatis