TSX rises to new records on momentum with no direction from closed U.S. markets

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index pushed deeper into record territory on momentum despite the lack of direction from U.S. markets.

U.S. stock markets are closed due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

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"Overall, things are good," said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management. "It's not uncommon for Canada to be neutral or slightly positive on a day when the U.S. is closed so this is normal and positive."

The TSX usually looks to the U.S. for direction but moving upwards to set new record highs is good without that influence, he said.

"We've had positive sentiment, people are still expecting a better global economy and global trade in 2020 and nothing has happened to change that," Cieszynski said in an interview.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 38.37 points to a record close of 17,597.39 after hitting an intraday high of 17,620.19.

The Canadian dollar traded for 76.61 cents US compared with an average of 76.56 cents US on Friday.

Eight of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were higher, led by materials with Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. gaining 9.8 per cent on slightly higher metal prices.

The February gold contract was up 30 cents at US$1,560.60 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 0.15 of a cent at US$2.85 a pound.

The remaining positive sectors were up marginally, including industrials, technology and financials.

Energy, telecommunications and real estate were the only other sectors to decline.

Energy was pulled down by shares of Encana Corp. losing 2.6 per cent and Imperial Oil down 1.3 per cent.

The March crude contract was up 12 cents at US$58.70 per barrel as of mid-afternoon and the February natural gas contract was down 6.3 cents at US$1.94 per mmBTU.

Cieszynski said Canadian investors are waiting for the earnings season to start and for the Bank of Canada to announce its interest rate decision on Wednesday.

"The outlook for the global economy is improving at the same time Canada's economy has been slowing so which one are they going to focus on more, it's hard to say," he said.

Ultimately, he believes Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz won't alter rates ahead of his departure from the role in the new few months.

"I suspect he's going to leave it for his replacement, whoever that is."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:TRQ, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

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