Canada’s main stock index on Monday fell to a five-week low as fears of a Russian attack on Ukraine and aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve weighed on investor sentiment, but the index clawed back much of its earlier decline.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 50.09 points, or 0.2%, at 20,571.30, its lowest closing level since Dec. 20.
“Momentum to the downside has been picking up over the last couple of weeks,” said Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at IG Wealth Management. “You always get a reset in valuations when interest rates are going up.”
The Toronto market gained 22% in 2021, its best yearly performance since 2009, but has since been pressured by the prospect of faster U.S. rate hikes.
The Bank of Canada is also expected to begin tightening, with the first move potentially coming at a policy announcement on Wednesday.
NATO said it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets in what Russia denounced as an escalation of tensions over Ukraine.
Geopolitical risk “is one more thing on the list that investors are already concerned about,” Petursson said.
Still, the TSX closed well above an intraday low of 19,912.59. It was helped by a rally in technology shares, including a 7% gain for Shopify Inc as the company proposed changes to its fulfillment network.
In the United States, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also ended higher, bouncing back from a steep sell-off late in the session.
Energy shares on the Toronto market fell 1.5%, pressured by a drop in oil prices. U.S. crude prices settled 2.2% lower at $83.31 a barrel.
Heavily weighted financial shares lost 0.8%, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, also ended 0.8% lower.
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Richard Chang)