TSX flat as weakness in cyclical, tech stocks counters commodity gains

Canada’s main stock index was subdued on Monday as gains in commodity-linked shares were offset by weakness in cyclical and tech stocks, while downbeat data from China fueled fears of a global economic slowdown.

At 9:47 a.m. ET (13:47 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 3.91 points, or 0.02%, at 20,103.72, a day after recording its biggest gain since February 2021.

China’s April retail sales plunged 11.1% on the year, almost twice the expected decline, hurt by full or partial COVID-19 lockdowns in dozens of cities. Industrial output dropped 2.9%, while analysts had looked for a slight increase.

“Overall the global market sentiment is negative again to start the week, although interestingly not as much as it was earlier. It does seem to be easing a bit, but still the China data wasn’t very good I think that is the bottom line,” Cieszynski added.

Cyclical and technology stocks were down 1.09% and 1.7% respectively, countering gains in commodity-linked shares.

The energy sector climbed 2.1% despite U.S. crude prices slipping 0.4% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.5%.

“Natural gas is up, so as gasoline. So that could help to cushion the blow a bit for Canada,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals’ miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.7%, tracking stronger industrial metals as top consumer China’s plans to ease COVID restrictions raised expectations of a demand revival.

On the economic front, domestic wholesale trade increased by 0.3% in March from the previous month on stronger sales in building materials and supplies, as well as the motor vehicles and parts and accessories subsector, Statistics Canada said.

Canadian factory sales grew by 2.5% in March from February on higher sales in petroleum and coal products, as well as primary metals, Statistics Canada said.

(Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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