Toronto and New York stock markets close lower, loonie moves down

TORONTO — Global political uncertainty and disappointing earnings out of the U.S. weighed on North American stocks Tuesday, pushing the Toronto and New York markets into the red.

The S&P/TSX composite index lost 62.32 points to close at 15,622.57, led by the base metals sector, which was down 1.38 per cent. Energy stocks gave back 0.91 per cent and the health-care sector of the TSX slipped 0.69 per cent.

South of the border, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 113.64 points to 20,523.28, the S&P 500 index shed 6.82 points to 2,342.19, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 7.32 points to 5,849.47.

The Canadian dollar closed at 74.73 cents US, down 0.37 of a cent from Monday.

Ben Jang, a portfolio manager at Nicola Wealth Management, says market volatility is rising due to global political uncertainty. That includes British Prime Minister Theresa May's call for an early election for June 8, as well as the seemingly tight race in the upcoming French elections, said Jang.

"Obviously there was a little bit of a surprise from the U.K. front, but I don't think the market is really considering that," said Jang.

"I think the impact is really from the French elections coming up. I think that's what the market is really focusing on."

Jang said the VIX — the ticker symbol for the CBOE Volatility Index, a popular measure that is sometimes referred to as the fear index — is showing an increase in volatility "across the board."

"When you look at how the polls are positioned and all four leading candidates are around that 20 per cent mark, and how there's a significant number of undecided voters, I think there's a lot of uncertainty around the election that has people concerned," said Jang.

Another factor confronting traders were corporate earnings from a couple of U.S. behemoths that were disappointing, he added.

"There's been a few large bellwether companies that have reported and it's been weak," said Jang.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson were down $3.90, or 3.10 per cent, to US$121.82 after the company reported a drop in sales, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lost $10.67, or 4.72 per cent, to US$215.59.

In commodities news, the May crude oil contract lost 24 cents to US$52.41 per barrel, while the more heavily traded June crude contract declined 26 cents at US$52.85 per barrel.

The May natural gas contract was down two cents at US$3.15 per mmBTU, while the June gold contract rose US$2.20 at US$1,294.10 an ounce. The May copper contract dipped seven cents at US$2.53 a pound.


Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter.

Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press

Read More: Business



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