Canada’s main stock index rose moderately on Tuesday as investors awaited an interest rate decision from the Bank of Canada.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index climbed bu 43.86 points to 15,149.14, helped by gains in the metals, energy and material sectors.
Bank and insurance stocks, which mostly benefit in a higher-interest rate environment, also finished the session ahead.
The Canadian dollar dipped 0.19 of a U.S. cent to an average trading price of US77.40¢.
All eyes will be on the loonie Wednesday as expectations run high that Canada’s central bank will raise its key interest rate for the first time in almost seven years amid signs of an economic recovery.
Speculation has been swirling for several weeks amid repeated hints from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz that Canada’s economy has strengthened sufficiently following a crash in oil prices.
The Canadian dollar climbed quickly as a result last week, but has since pulled back slightly in the past two days.
Peggy Bowie, a senior trader with Manulife Asset Management, says if the interest rate hike happens as anticipated, the loonie will likely “see some sideways action” because expectations have already been baked in.
Otherwise, for the news to have a dramatic impact on the dollar, investors will have to be surprised by either a larger-than-expected rate increase or no increase at all.
“There is a feeling that Poloz will follow what is going on with the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England,” she said. “A rate hike here isn’t going to cramp the growth that has been happening.”
Bowie says the markets will be particularly interested in the governor’s remarks following the announcement to see if there will be any hints about the future pace of increases.
South of the border, markets were in a wait-and-see mode as U.S. Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average saw an uptick of 0.55 of a point to 21,409.07, the S&P 500 composite index shed 1.9 points to 2,425.53 and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 16.91 points to 6,193.30.
Commodities were higher with the August crude contract up US64¢ to US$45.04 a barrel and the August natural gas contract ahead US12¢ to US$3.05 per mmBTU.
The August gold contract gained $1.50 to US$1,214.70 an ounce and the September copper contract was up US2¢ at US$2.67 a pound.