This week in the markets

Weekly Market Commentary

Markets languish as investors await clarity from Trump

January 20, 2017

Most equity markets lost ground this week. The enthusiasm that pushed stocks higher in the wake of the U.S. election eased leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration as president on Friday.

In the absence of concrete details about Trump’s policies, investors have taken a wait-and-see stance in recent weeks. This is in stark contrast to the rally sparked by hopes that the new administration would boost the U.S. economy through increased government spending, tax cuts and deregulation.

Canada was one of the few global markets to buck the downward trend as the S&P/TSX Composite posted a modest advance. Among key sectors, materials stocks gained as gold and base metals prices rose. The energy sector was down marginally on volatile oil prices. The financials sector was little changed, while select industrial stocks benefitted from corporate developments.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 Composite fell slightly in a holiday-shortened trading week. The consumer and industrials sectors outperformed, while the financials sector – which has been a big winner since the election – declined despite continued healthy quarterly profits reported by banks this week, and as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank was on track for a series of gradual interest rate increases over the next few years. Rate hikes are generally seen as positive for bank earnings.

The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 Index fell. Britain’s FTSE 100 ended the longest record-setting streak in its history as the country’s government outlined Brexit plans. Other European markets were hesitant as investors digested Brexit developments and awaited U.S. economic policy.

North American economic developments were generally favourable. The Bank of Canada left interest rates unchanged at its policy-setting meeting this week, but indicated that a rate cut remains possible if the economy is hurt by potential U.S. protectionist policies. The bank cut its key rate twice in 2015, but has since made no changes. Canadian manufacturing sales jumped by a greater-than-expected 1.5% in November over October and retail sales rose 0.2%. In the U.S., the Fed’s Beige Book report indicated the economy continues to expand at a modest pace.

In other news this week:

  • Canadian house prices rose 10.5% in 2016, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The average price at year-end was $490,495.
  • After hitting a 14-year high in the wake of the election, the U.S. dollar fell to its lowest point in a month after Trump suggested in a newspaper interview that it was “too strong.”
  • U.S. consumer prices rose at the fastest rate in two and a half years in December, strengthening the case for interest rate increases.
  • The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting, indicting it would continue to keep them at historic lows.

What’s ahead next week:

Canada

  • No major economic data releases scheduled.

U.S.

  • GDP, fourth quarter, first estimate.
  • House sales, prices.
  • Durable goods orders.
  • Consumer sentiment.

This week's market closing values

Level Change 1-week YTD 1-year 5-year
EQUITY INDICES CAD CAD CAD CAD
S&P/TSX 15,547.88 + 50.60 + 0.33% + 1.70% + 31.28% + 4.63%
S&P 500 2,271.31 - 3.33 + 1.59% + 0.73% + 11.91% + 17.87%
DJIA 19,827.25 - 58.48 + 1.44% - 0.39% + 15.20% + 15.48%
FTSE 100 7,198.44 - 139.37 + 0.89% - 0.01% + 1.10% + 5.61%
CAC 40 4,850.67 - 71.82 + 0.61% + 0.25% + 5.28% + 9.69%
DAX 11,630.13 + 0.95 + 2.11% + 1.80% + 10.87% + 14.58%
Nikkei 19,137.91 - 149.37 + 0.84% + 0.92% + 8.28% + 14.02%
Hang Seng 22,885.91 - 51.47 + 1.45% + 3.22% + 11.99% + 8.44%
CURRENCY RETURNS CAD Change
US$ 1.3326 + 0.0212 + 1.62% - 0.86% - 8.12% + 5.63%
Euro 1.4248 + 0.0291 + 2.08% + 0.81% - 9.79% + 1.69%
Yen 0.0116 + 0.0002 + 1.54% + 1.23% - 6.23% - 2.43%
CANADIAN TREASURIES Yield Change COMMODITIES USD Change
3-month 0.44 - 0.02 Oil $52.42 + $0.05
5-year 1.13 + 0.02 Gold $1,207.60 + $10.02
10-year 1.75 + 0.03 Natural Gas $3.21 - $0.15

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