Economy & Markets

Wall Street nudges to record highs

By David Hodges |
Source: The Canadian Press

Canada's main stock index dipped into the red Monday as minor U.S. stock movements saw Wall Street hit a new record high.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 4.47 points to 15,802.7.

The commodity-heavy TSX had been up earlier in the trading day, with some of the lift coming from rising oil prices, said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser at Holliswealth.

The November crude contract climbed US42¢ to US$51.87 per barrel amid rising tensions in the Middle East as Iraqi federal forces moved into the disputed city of Kirkuk and seized oil fields, prompting a withdrawal by Kurdish forces.

"Oil was up quite a bit because of what's been happening in Iraq — Iraq being the no. 2 producer of oil in OPEC," Small said.

South of the border, New York stock indices extended their record-setting run into a sixth straight week.

The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 85.24 points to 22,956.96. The S&P 500 index inched up 4.47 points to 2,557.64 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 18.21 points to 6,624.01.

While Monday was a relatively light day for earnings, the pace is slated to pick up on Tuesday and into next week, when the bulk of S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report quarterly results.

"Obviously earnings are very key until we get the next political catalyst such as tax reform," said Small.

"Is the market expensive? I think that's the question everybody is looking at," he said. "I don't think it's extremely expensive. I don't think it's cheap but I think it's fairly valued."

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of US79.81¢, down 0.27 of a cent.

Elsewhere in commodities, the December gold contract gave back US$1.60 to US$1,303.00 an ounce.

The November natural gas contract was down US5¢ at US$2.95 per mmBTU and the December copper contract was up US11¢ to US$3.24 a pound.