The loonie continued to strengthen against a weakened greenback Thursday, as the Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index fell moderately amid slumping oil prices.
The Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of US81.15¢, up 0.12 of a cent.
The U.S. currency has fallen to three-year lows and fell sharply on Wednesday following comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said the weaker dollar is good for U.S. exporters.
America’s economy has grown at a faster pace in the last few quarters, and usually the U.S. dollar gets stronger when economic growth picks up. But the economies of many other countries are growing at a faster pace, which has made currencies like the euro stronger compared to the greenback.
“Canadian investors that have money abroad are certainly continuing to feel the pain regardless of what one is making on U.S. equities — much if not all of those gains are being compromised to the exchange rates,” said Kash Pashootan, CEO and chief investment officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc. in Toronto.
“The Canadian dollar and its exchange rate with the U.S. certainly plays into how Canadian investors will feel about their portfolios if they have exposure outside the country, which most do given how small the Canadian market is.”
In equity markets, Toronto’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 80.20 points to 16,204.01, amid a broad-based decline in major sectors.
South of the border, Wall Street indexes were mixed as lacklustre technology companies held back gains elsewhere.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 140.67 points to 26,392.79, as the S&P 500 index inched up 1.71 points to 2,839.25 — both record highs. The Nasdaq composite index edged back 3.90 points to 7,411.16.
On the Canadian corporate front, shares of Rogers Communications Inc. were down 58¢, or 0.95%, to $60.34 after the telecommunications giant reported a fourth-quarter profit of $419 million compared with a loss of $9 million a year ago. While the earnings were ahead of estimates, the lack of an expected dividend hike Thursday caused analysts to grill its CEO about the company’s spending priorities.
In commodities news, the March crude contract was down 10¢ to US$65.51 per barrel and the March natural gas contract added US2¢ to US$3.10 per mmBTU.
The February gold contract advanced US$6.60 cents to US$1,362.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was down US1¢ to US$3.22 a pound.
With a file from The Associated Press