Economy & Markets

Wall St. hits 3rd straight record high

By David Hodges |
Source: The Canadian Press

Wall Street nudged toward its third-straight record high Wednesday as Canada's biggest stock index slipped into the red and oil prices fell amid concerns of a supply glut.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 19.97 points to 22,661.64. The S&P 500 index was up 3.16 of a point to 2,537.74 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 2.92 points to 6,534.63.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 7.51 points to 15,721.00.

Falling energy shares led decliners on the commodity-heavy TSX as the market absorbed conflicting oil supply reports, with the November crude contract falling US44¢ to US$49.98 per barrel.

Earlier on Wednesday, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 6.0 million barrels for the week ending Sept. 29.

The bullish inventory report showed that stockpiles had declined much more than the markets had been anticipating, said Fiera Capital vice-president and portfolio manager Candice Bangsund.

But then later Wednesday the EIA also reported that U.S. crude exports jumped to 1.98 million barrels per day, marking the fourth weekly increase.

"That really offset all the good news we heard earlier in the day," said Bangsund. "This has essentially reignited concerns about this prolonged supply glut and that's really what markets are focusing on in the energy space and of course that's what's taking the TSX lower today."

It was last November that OPEC and 10 other oil-producing countries, including Russia, agreed to cut their production until March 2018 in a bid to combat a supply glut and shore up crude prices.

Speaking at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin suggested he has not ruled out extending OPEC cuts to the end of 2018.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of US80.13¢, up 0.13 of a cent.

Elsewhere in commodities, the November natural gas contract advanced US5¢ at US$2.94 per mmBTU, the December gold contract gained US$2.20 to US$1,276.80 an ounce and the December copper contract was unchanged at US$2.96 a pound.