TSX pulls back from record high as financials slip

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rises to a record high

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged lower on Monday as a drop in U.S. Treasury yields weighed on the shares of financial services companies, but the index stayed in reach of a record high.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 49.67 points, or 0.2%, at 20,594.97.

The dip in U.S. Treasury yields is "having an effect on the financials," said Norman Levine, managing director, Portfolio Management Corporation.

U.S. Treasury yields fell ahead of the release later this week of the August employment report, with investors weighing the impact it could have on the timing of the Federal Reserve's tapering announcement.

Lower yields tend to reduce the margins banks charge on loans. Financials, which account for about 30% of the Toronto market's value, fell for a third straight day, down 0.8%, while resource shares also lost ground.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.9% and energy was down 1%.

The price of oil settled 0.7% higher at $69.21 a barrel, but pulling back from session peaks as Hurricane Ida weakened to tropical storm status.

Technology shares, which tend to benefit from lower interest rates, ended nearly 1% higher.

Trading in Canadian equities has been volatile in August - a seasonally weak period for stocks - but the TSX is still on track for its seventh straight month of gains.

On Friday, the index reached a record high of 20,662.94. It is expected to extend its record-setting rally in 2022 as global economic expansion underpins corporate earnings growth, a Reuters poll last week found.

"We think buying opportunities are out there right now in financials, resources and cyclical stocks," Levine said. "We think inflation will be higher and longer lasting than the bond market seems to be saying."

(Additional reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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