News / Toronto

Most markets in North America rise as investors await clarity on Trump policies

TORONTO — Most stock indexes in North America rose and the Canadian dollar extended its streak of gains on Friday as investors await details of future policies under Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated as U.S. president in a week.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 79.12 points to 15,497.28, led by the consumer staples and base metals subsectors.

In New York, the S&P 500 advanced 4.20 points to 2,274.64 and the Nasdaq composite climbed 26.63 points to 5,574.12, setting another record-high for the index.

The Dow Jones industrial average found itself on the other side of the ledger, falling 5.27 points to 19,885.73.

The financial sector led markets south of the border as quarterly results from JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo surpassed analysts' expectations.

The markets also took in stride a disappointing retail sales report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, said Todd Mattina, chief economist and strategist at Mackenzie Investments.

Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 per cent last month, but analysts expected more, Mattina said. Still, he said he and many analysts feel the underlying trend remains positive.

He said investors' expectations remain high that Trump will follow through with a pro-growth, reflationary agenda, but he has provided scant details on any planned tax cuts and boosts in infrastructure spending. There was little insight offered from Trump on that front during his news conference earlier this week.

"(Investors) are looking for more concrete details about Donald Trump's policies to judge the short and longer economic impacts of concrete policies he'll actually implement," Mattina said.

"Between now and inauguration day, there's going to be a lot of pressure to sort of provide more shape and detail around these policies."

The Canadian dollar saw its eight consecutive day of gains, edging up 0.03 of a U.S. cent at 76.18 cents US.

Oil and bullion took a step back, with the February crude contract shedding 64 cents to US$52.37 per barrel. The February gold contract lost $3.60 to US$1,196.20 an ounce.

While oil prices have been "extremely volatile in recent weeks," Mattina said they were modest moves from normal market fluctuations.

Elsewhere in commodities, February natural gas gained about three cents to about US$3.42 per mmBtu and March copper contracts rose about two cents at US$2.69 a pound.

Markets in the U.S. will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.

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