TSX falls as commodity stocks slide, investors weigh key earnings

By Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell on Tuesday as investors remained on the sidelines in an earnings-heavy week, while weakness in crude and copper prices dragged the commodity stocks lower.

At 10:03 a.m. ET (1403 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 113.01 points, or 0.55%, at 20,563.73, dropping to nearly its two-week low levels.

The energy sector lost 1.4% as crude prices fell on uncertainty about the global economic outlook and a firmer dollar. [O/R]

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners, shed 1.0% as copper prices slipped on weak Chinese demand and rising inventories in the London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouse system. [MET/L]

Heavyweight financials fell 0.5%, tracking the dour mood on Wall Street after First Republic Bank reported a more than $100 billion plunge in deposits for the first quarter in the aftermath of U.S. lender’s rout in March.

Market sentiments have been subdued with the onset of earnings season following a strength in TSX until last week on signs of cooling inflation, rise in commodity stocks and unchanged interest rates from Bank of Canada.

“It is all about earnings. We’ve seen very low volatility with indices hovering around the flatline over the last couple of days. And now we’re getting an avalanche of results,” said Angelo Kourkafas, investment strategist at Edward Jones Investments.

“Economic data and earnings have been pretty conflicting and that’s reflecting on how directionless equities have been. Markets might need some further fuel to continue to move higher.”

On the bright side, defensive sectors like consumer staples and utilities added about 0.3% each.

Industrials were down 1.4% as Canadian National Railway fell 3.5%, reversing a gain of nearly 3% recorded in the last seven sessions. The rail operator also reported its first-quarter results after-hours on Monday.

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal)