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North American stock markets and oil price rise on optimism, loonie slips


TORONTO — North American markets rose Wednesday on the potential for more stimulus spending and optimism around the trajectory of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The rise in stocks pushed markets back into bull market terrain, since they're 20 per cent above the March 23 lows, said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager at Fiera Capital Corp.

"Sentiment today is driving on, number one, hopes for another round of U.S. stimulus to jump start the economy," said Bangsund.

"There's also increased speculation that the outbreak may be approaching a peak, and tentative discussions about potentially reopening the economy, which, when taken together, has bolstered markets."

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 311.57 points or 2.3 per cent at 13,925.71 on widespread gains.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 779.71 points at 23,433.57. The S&P 500 index was up 90.57 points at 2,749.98, while the Nasdaq composite was up 203.64 points at 8,090.90.

The Canadian dollar averaged 71.26 cents US, down from an average of 71.50 cents US on Tuesday.

Canadian jobs numbers come out Thursday, but investors have already anticipated a significant rise in jobless claims, said Bangsund.  

"Needless to say that the numbers are going to be devastating....from an economic standpoint, I think a lot of that is priced in. And markets are increasingly focused in on the status of the outbreak and when the economy can get up and run or get back to up and running."

The May crude contract ended up $1.46 at US$25.09 per barrel, rising in part on anticipation of a Thursday OPEC meeting on potentially reducing output.

"Obviously investors are positioning for a potential production co-ordinated production cut by the world's top producers that would help to stem that massive supply glut in the market," said Bangsund.

The May natural gas contract was down seven cents at US$1.78 per mmBTU.

The June gold contract closed up 60 cents at US$1,684.30 an ounce and the May copper contract closed down 1.25 cents at US$2.26 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2020.

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


The Canadian Press

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