TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index dipped into the red on Thursday as Wall Street was mixed amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s long-awaited tax reform package.
The S&P/TSX composite index fell 14.34 points to 16,014.99, with energy leading decliners.
On the corporate front, Canadian oil and gas companies that reported quarterly earnings Thursday met with mixed reactions from investors, with shares of Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) down 4.8 per cent (TSX:ENB), while Cenovus (TSX:CVE) rose 2.7 per cent and Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) was up 0.44 per cent at the close.
Meanwhile, Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) saw its shares rise more than six per cent amid news the aerospace and transportation company has signed a letter of intent with an unidentified European customer for a firm order of 31 C Series aircraft and options for an additional 30 jets.
In New York, major indices were largely static as investors pored over House Republicans’ tax proposals.
The broad strokes of the bill include temporarily cutting the top corporate U.S. tax rate to 20 per cent from 35 per cent, a boon to smaller American companies that tend to pay taxes at higher rates than larger firms that do more business overseas. Key as well would be reduction in the amount of interest Americans can deduct on new mortgages, a scourge for homebuilders.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 81.25 points to 23,516.26, a record high. The S&P 500 index inched up 0.49 of a point to 2,579.85 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 1.59 points to 6,714.94.
As expected, Trump also tapped Federal Reserve board member Jerome Powell on Thursday to replace Janet Yellen as Fed Chair when her term ends in February.
In other news, Canadian softwood lumber producers learned Thursday they will be hammered only slightly less forcefully as the U.S. government reduced export duties for most Canadian producers after ongoing political talks failed to reach a deal.
“There’s a lot out there to digest today,” said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser at Holliswealth. “The markets, I think are taking it in stride, but they’re pretty much flat for the day.”
In currency movements, the loonie was trading at an average price of 77.99 cents US, up 0.38 of a U.S. cent.
“Today, the Canadian dollar is rising on the back of U.S. dollar weakness rather than Canadian strength,” said Small. “The U.S. dollar is not doing a whole lot... That’s because of tax reform.”
In commodities news, the December crude contract added 24 cents to US$54.54 per barrel and the December natural gas contract advanced four cents to US$2.94 per mmBTU.
The December gold contract nudged up 80 cents to $1,278.10 an ounce and the December copper contract was unchanged at US$3.14 a pound.