The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 24, 2019 7:49AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 24, 2019 5:39PM EDT
TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index closed higher on broad gains led by information technology and industrials, while U.S. markets were mixed.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 39.16 points at 16,611.84 points even as the health care index was dragged down by a plunge in shares of CannTrust Holdings Inc.
The cannabis producer saw its shares close down about 22 per cent after a media report alleged that the cannabis company’s chief executive and chairman of the board were aware of pot cultivation in rooms without government approval, months before Health Canada discovered the illicit activity.
The stock slide helped push down the health care index by 0.7 per cent, while energy stocks were down 1.19 per cent as the price of oil dropped.
Despite the drops in some sectors, the TSX overall rose as part of a global expectation of more action coming from central banks.
“On the equity market front we’re seeing broad-based gains across the world and interestingly it’s a case of bad news on the economic front being met with a positive response from the equity markets,” said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager for Fiera Capital.
“Softer economic results from Europe earlier this morning, followed by the U.S., has ultimately bolstered the case for increased stimulus from central banks.”
The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 79.22 points at 27,269.97 points. The S&P 500 index was up 14.09 points at 3,019.56, while the Nasdaq composite was up 70.10 points at 8,321.50.
Bangsund said markets will likely be volatile as markets try and balance economic signals with central bank indicators.
“It’s going to be a very volatile period for the remainder of 2019, because there is going to be a lot of speculation as to the direction of monetary policy.”
The Canadian dollar averaged 76.12 cents US, up from an average of 76.09 cents US on Tuesday.
The September crude contract ended down 89 cents at US$55.88 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was down 7.3 cents at US$2.20 per mmBTU.
Oil dropped despite a sixth week of U.S. stockpile drawdowns and a production slide over fears of global growth, said Bangsund.
“Investors largely focused on that global growth backdrop and the potential for softer global growth to hurt demand.”
The August gold contract closed up $1.90 at US$1,423.60 an ounce and the September copper contract rose 1.2 cents at US$2.71 a pound.