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S&P/TSX composite down as energy and base metal stocks fall, U.S. markets also lower

Canada’s main stock index was down more than 100 points Wednesday, weighed down by losses in base metal and energy stocks, while U.S. stock markets also moved lower ahead of after-market earnings from Nvidia.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 121.40 points at 22,346.76.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 201.95 points at 39,671.04. The S&P 500 index was down 14.40 points at 5,307.01, while the Nasdaq composite was down 31.08 points at 16,801.54.

Wednesday brought the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, which showed Fed officials suggesting it “would likely take longer than previously thought” to get inflation fully under control.

The minutes weren’t a big surprise, but showed officials speaking a little more hawkishly than chair Jerome Powell did at the press conference after the last decision, said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments.

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“Some thought that … inflation would be coming down faster than it has been,” he said.

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“Without it coming down as fast, it’s probably going to be harder to see the aggressive rate cuts that some people have been expecting, so probably more leaning towards higher for longer.”

The minutes also said some participants were willing to raise rates again if inflation worsens.

The chances of that are “slim to none,” said Taylor, but officials likely just wanted to keep the door open to the possibility.

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Markets appeared to be taking some profits on commodities, with base metals, gold and others down on Wednesday, said Taylor.

The TSX base metals index was down 5.27 per cent.

“(It’s) generally a pretty big risk-off in the commodity market after a pretty nice run for the last few months,” Taylor said.

Otherwise, investors spent most of the day anxiously waiting for Nvidia’s earnings release after the bell.

The company is a “powerhouse” stock, Taylor said, and wrapped up in the bullishness over artificial intelligence.

Expectations had been high for the company that’s been helping lead a long rally on Wall St., said Taylor, and its guidance for the months ahead will be key.

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The company’s earnings have the potential to move markets on Thursday, he added: “It’s done that in the past over the last year.”

On Wednesday, earnings from Target missed the mark and its stock sank eight per cent.

In Canada, Thursday will see TD kick off earnings from the major banks. The ongoing investigations in the U.S. into the bank’s money-laundering defences have been a “black mark” on that stock, said Taylor, so investors will be watching for any updates on the situation.

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.13 cents US compared with 73.27 cents on Tuesday.

The July crude oil contract was down US$1.09 at US$77.57 per barrel and the June natural gas contract was up 17 cents at US$2.84 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The June gold contract was down US$33.00 at US$2,392.90 an ounce and the July copper contract was down 26 cents at US$4.85 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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