North American stock indices were relatively flat Tuesday as investors waited for U.S. Congress to start voting on a bill that would lower American corporate tax rates.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index edged up 1.71 points to 16,133.35, after surpassing its previous record high of 16.136.59 during most of intraday trading.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 37.45 points at 24,754.75. The S&P 500 index gave back 8.69 points to 2,681.47 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 30.91 points to 6,963.85.
Earlier Tuesday, Donald Trump’s Republican-sponsored tax bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the Senate expected to vote on it Tuesday night. The US$1.5 trillion package would cut the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%, and would slash taxes for the wealthy, with smaller cuts for middle-and low-income families.
“I think the market has been anticipating this already for some time and the interesting thing is you can see the winners and losers from this because companies that are in the tech sector, a lot of these names are paying a very low rate of tax already,” said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser at Holliswealth.
Losses for technology companies pulled U.S. stock indexes away from all-time highs reached consecutively over the past two trading sessions, as big names like Apple and Facebook saw their stock prices drop.
Meanwhile, energy companies on both sides of the border were slightly higher as oil prices rose. The February crude contract was up US34¢ to US$57.56 per barrel.
In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading price of US77.60¢, down 0.13 of a U.S. cent.
On the Canadian corporate front, shares of Aecon Group Inc. got a modest bump after the construction company’s shareholders voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve a $1.5-billion takeover by Chinese firm CCCC International Holding Ltd., a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd. Aecon’s stock was up 6¢, or 0.3%, to $19.91.
Far greater gains Tuesday were seen by Great Canadian Gaming Corp. — up $4.48, or 14.99%, to $34.37 — after the B.C.-based company and Clairvest Group Inc. were chosen to develop and operate four Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. facilities west of Toronto.
Elsewhere in commodities, the January natural gas contract was down 5¢ at US$2.69 per mmBTU. The February gold contract fell US$1.30 to US$1,264.40 an ounce and the March copper contract was unchanged at US$3.15 a pound.