North American markets end trading day in positive territory

Canada’s main stock exchange ended the trading day up over 200 points, with U.S. stock markets closing in positive territory as well, as momentum continued following a three-quarters of a percentage point rate hike out of the U.S. Wednesday.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 202.15 points at 19,456.71, with energy, industrials and utilities leading the way.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 332.04 points at 32,529.63. The S&P 500 index gained 48.82 points at 4,072.43, while the Nasdaq composite was up 130.17 points at 12,162.59.

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GDP data out of the U.S. Thursday also helped push the market higher, even though it showed the economy shrank for a second straight quarter, at an annual rate of 0.9 per cent, after a 1.6 per cent decline in the first quarter.

“The stock market is up because the slowdown in the economy is interpreted as less need for significantly more restrictive policy and rate increases,” said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc., in an interview.

He called this an “economic soft patch” and wasn’t jumping to recession talk.

“The market is kind of extrapolating that we know there’s economic weakness,” he said. “The action in the market and some of the sectors that are acting quite well is the stuff that’s growth-related, momentum-related — people are getting a little bit more constructive on some of the growth assets that really have been oversold.”

Canadian energy companies have been in the spotlight this week, with companies like Cenovus Energy Corp. posting a massive upswing in second-quarter profit.

“Companies are continuing to generate massive amounts of free cash, the balance sheets are in excellent condition and they’re continuing to return that capital to shareholders … if that continues to be the case, energy prices anywhere around this level are going to result in huge financial benefits for these companies for the next several quarters,” Archibald said. “I expect to see more good results out of the energy companies.”

These companies seem to be managing inflation costs well at the moment, and management teams are indicating it isn’t a huge concern at present, he added.

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Two companies that will be major drivers of market action Friday are Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc.

After the bell Thursday, Amazon reported better-than-expected second-quarter revenue, but the slowest growth rate in two decades.

“Although this isn’t a terrible set of results from Amazon, the pattern of slowdown seen in the first-quarter numbers has carried over to the current trading period. This is particularly so on the product front where sales are down by 2.5% over the prior year,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, in a note. “Meanwhile, sales through Amazon’s online stores fell by a sharper 4%. Both these figures are slightly worse than last quarter, indicating that Amazon is still struggling with much weaker consumer demand.”

Apple posted fiscal third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations for sales and profit, but showed slowing growth.

The Canadian dollar traded for 77.91 cents US compared with 77.69 cents US on Wednesday.

The September crude contract was down 84 cents at US$96.42 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was down 42 cents at US$8.13.

The August gold contract was up US$31.20 at US$1,750.30 an ounce and the September copper contract was up almost five cents at US$3.47 a pound.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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