US indexes finish lower ahead of Donald Trump inauguration TSX ekes out

by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Jan 19, 2017 9:45 am MDT Last Updated Jan 19, 2017 at 3:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email U.S. indexes finish lower ahead of Donald Trump inauguration, TSX ekes out gain TORONTO – Stock markets in New York registered losses Thursday as investor sentiment appeared to sober, a day ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell by 72.32 points to 19,732.40, wiping out the gains it has made this year and falling for the fifth day in a row. The S&P 500 dropped 8.2 points at 2,263.69 and the Nasdaq composite gave up 15.57 points at 5,540.08.“The big question for the market is, ‘What happens after inauguration day?’” said Andrew Pyle, a senior wealth adviser and portfolio manager at ScotiaMcLeod.“For now, ahead of this big day, investors are just taking money off the table on the concern that we could see the market extend a pullback.”The declines came as two reports were released that show the world’s largest economy is showing strength in its labour and housing markets.The U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of workers seeking unemployment claims fell last week to its lowest level in more than 43 years, a sign that corporate layoffs are subsiding. Another report showed that homebuilders broke ground on more new homes in December. Developers began work on the most new homes and apartments since 2007.Despite the strong economic indicators, stock markets still racked up losses amid the uncertainty surrounding the incoming U.S. president, explained Pyle.“There is a little bit of a reality check coming back into the markets which really wasn’t there in the weeks following the election,” he said from Peterborough, Ont.Stock markets, especially in the U.S., have been rallying since the billionaire businessman won the election in early November, interpreting his victory as a sign of lower taxes and less regulation on businesses.But Pyle said what was ultimately ignored during the “honeymoon period” was his support of increased tariffs and protectionist policies, particularly with China, which could mean drops in profits for big U.S. companies.In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index squeezed out a gain of 11.96 points at 15,409.81, lifted by metals and industrials stocks.Shares in Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) rose nearly four per after chief executive Hunter Harrison announced late Wednesday he was leaving his post, effective immediately. It was reported that the 72-year-old is teaming up with an activist investor to target the Florida-based CSX railroad. Shares in CP Railway closed up $7.63 to $200.11 on the TSX.The Canadian dollar fell 0.31 of a cent at 75.11 cents US. The currency had lost more than a penny against the greenback on Wednesday following comments from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz that the possibility of an interest rate cut “remains on the table.”In commodities, the February crude contract gained 29 cents at US$51.37 a barrel as Saudi Arabia’s energy minister says there’s a chance of another production cut from OPEC this year if prices don’t stay elevated. Oil prices are trading above US$50 a barrel, nearly double the level they were a year ago.The March crude contract, which was trading at a greater volume, added 23 cents at US$52.12 a barrel.The February gold contract fell $10.60 to US$1,201.50 an ounce, March copper contracts shed a cent at US$2.61 a pound while February natural gas contracts gained seven cents at US$3.37 per mmBtu.— With files from The Associated PressFollow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter. read more