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TSX ends down along with U.S. markets, Cdn dollar makes slight gains


Canada's main stock index joined U.S. markets in the red Monday as a Federal Reserve meeting looms and a share price hit at Facebook over improper data use weighed on the tech sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 121.94 points to 15,589.39, led by declines in energy and base metals as both oil and copper prices slipped.

Aeroplan parent company Aimia Inc. was a bright spot on the TSX, up 25 per cent to $2 after announcing a partnership with online giant Amazon that will offer members rewards for shopping with the world's largest retailer.

The Canadian dollar made slight gains, closing up 0.05 of a US cent at 76.46 cents US, but could be tested later this week when the U.S. Federal Reserve gives more details on its rate hike plans, said Michael Currie, vice-president of TD Wealth Private Investment Advice.

"With the Fed meeting Wednesday that's definitely going to be putting some pressure on Canada."

The amount of pressure depends on how many rate hikes the Fed indicates, especially since the Bank of Canada isn't giving any signs of a rate hike coming any time soon, said Currie.

The potential hit to the Canadian dollar comes after steep declines in recent weeks, but it's more of a return to the expected range, he said.

"It's still trading in the range. I think everyone was surprised a month or so ago when it was trading at 81 and a half, didn't seem to be a lot of fundamental support on that one. So even though it's been pulling back, it's pulling back from a high point. Most people see it in the seventies."

In U.S. markets, the Nasdaq composite index was down 137.75 points to 7,344.24. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 335.60 points to 24,610.91 and the S&P 500 index was down 39.09 points to 2,712.92.

Facebook was a drag on the Nasdaq, down 6.77 per cent after facing criticism from reports that a data mining firm working for the Trump campaign improperly obtained and then kept data on tens of millions of users.

"You've got people in Canada, U.K., the States, EU all talking about the allegations they want to have hearings go on, so they're obviously taking this pretty seriously around the world," said Currie.

The decline in the Nasdaq comes after the market hit a recent high, with it still looking quite healthy, he said.

"We have to take it in the context that even though the Nasdaq is down pretty heavy, it's still up five per cent year to date, and just last week it was at a record high. So probably more of a breather here on the tech stocks than a correction."

On the commodity front, the May crude contract closed down 28 cents to US$62.13 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was down four cents to US$2.65 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract closed up $5.50 to US$1,317.80 an ounce and the May copper contract was down three cents to US$3.08 a pound.

 

 

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

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