Saturday, February 25, 2017

Toronto and New York markets set new records again

(February 13) The Toronto stock market rose again today after setting records on Friday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with U.S. president Donald Trump. They both vowed to strengthen economic ties.

The two issued a joint statement after the meeting saying that the two countries have similar priorities and this included the need to bolster trade. On the issue of modifying NAFTA, Trump said that his bigger concern was Mexico and he was only aiming to "tweak" parts relating to Canada in order to better facilitate cross-border trade. There is more than $2 billion in trade between the two countries each day.
Canadian markets strategist Craig Fehr said that the two leaders appeared to be on the same page on a number of issues including the mutual advantages of increasing trade between the two countries. Fehr said:"For those looking at it from a Canadian perspective, this meeting can perhaps be viewed as a sigh of relief — particularly when you compare it to what the rhetoric was on the (Trump) campaign trail where it was much more positioned as NAFTA being unilaterally a bad deal. This is a confirmation that campaign rhetoric was just that, and that the actual execution of any trade agreements or renegotiations are going to be far less harsh than what the original assertions may have suggested."
The Toronto stock market index the S&P/TSX set another record today following on a record close on Friday. It was up at the close to 15,756.58, up 27.46 points. Gains in metals are retail stocks more than offset some losses in the gold and energy sectors. New records were set for the third consecutive session in New York indices. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 142.79 points at 20,412.16, the S&P 500 was ahead 12.15 points at 2,328.25, and the Nasdaq composite rose 29.83 points to 5,763.96.
Fehr said that although Trump's meeting with Trudeau appeared to be one of the most successful he has had with leaders, it is still too early to know what will happen with NAFTA renegotiation:"It is too early. The press conference and the meeting is the first step in a long process of ultimately reaching trade deals over long periods of time that will be beneficial to both countries. We can't take today's meeting as the end point. It's probably more of a starting point, but it's a pretty good start in terms of setting the right tone for what a mutually beneficial relationship can and should be moving forward."Both oil and gas prices fell as did gold.
There are signs that might worry Trump. Many countries with large treasury holdings such as Japan are getting rid of them in large quantities. Supposedly, the world's safest debt market is being seen as less of a sure thing.
An article in BNN surveys CEO's of different companies on the situation. Paul Colborn, President and CEO of Surge Energy had no concern about a possible tax on goods coming from Canada: “I think [a possible border tax] is a real red herring. When I look at it, I think why would they approve the [Keystone XL] pipeline and tie in the biggest oil reserves on the planet for security of supply reasons? It makes no sense to me that there would be a big border tax.”
One company CEO Tom Leighton of Akamai Technology reacted negatively to Trump's travel ban: “The travel ban really runs counter to our culture at Akamai. Diversity and inclusion are very important to us. It makes it hard – or impossible – for some of our employees to travel, causing a lot of concern for our employee base and also our customers.”
Michael Decter president and CEO of LDIC Inc. that manages investment portfolios, thought that lower oil prices had produced a more disciplined energy sector and that Trump policies could send stock markets higher: "[Trump] has injected some unusual uncertainty into the business. But I often say to clients, many of whom as Canadians are not very keen on Mr. Trump as President of the United States, is that he may not be good for the world but he may be very good for the stock market and your portfolio. He is a very strongly pro-business president, he has a very pro-business cabinet." Decter held positions in both the Manitoba and Ontario New Democratic Party(NDP) governments.


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