North American stock markets barely move after strong end to last week

TORONTO — North American stock markets barely budged to start the week in the first day of trading after setting record highs in the U.S.

"This is really a day where we're just seeing a bit of a breather after markets have rather steadily climbed to new highs in recent weeks," said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets strategist, Edward Jones.

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He said markets have been supported by corporate earnings that were better than feared in the recent quarter along with supportive data and a positive view on the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

"So on a day like today, where there's not a whole lot of additional data, it's not surprising to see markets relatively flat," he said in an interview.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 5.41 points to 16,882.83.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 10.25 points at 27,691.49 after getting a lift from Boeing on better news on the timeline for a resumption of flying of its Max aircraft. The S&P 500 index was down 6.07 points at 3,087.01, while the Nasdaq composite was down 11.04 points at 8,464.28.

In the backdrop were weekend comments from U.S. President Donald Trump that muted some recent optimism about the trade deal with China.

Trump said talks were moving along "very nicely" but were slower than he would like. He also said there was false reporting about U.S. willingness to lift tariffs.

Markets were hopeful that phase one would be signed after months of stalemate but, as in the past, optimism was followed by short-term disappointment.

"The markets are continuing to latch onto that but I think trade is going to continue to be a factor that whipsaws markets up and down," Fehr said.

"Perhaps it's somewhat positive that the market isn't overreacting to that comment. It might suggest that there's a little bit more of a broader view in the markets these days about the trade situation."

The Canadian dollar exchange rate was not available at the time of publication.

Sectors on the TSX were divided with technology being a leader and health care a laggard as cannabis producers lost ground with Hexo Corp. down 8.8 per cent.

Materials and energy fell about 0.3 per cent on drops in the prices of crude oil and gold.

Shares of Encana Corp. lost 4.8 per cent while Premium Brands Holdings Corp. fell 5.8 per cent after reporting lower earnings in the third quarter due to indirect fallout from the African swine fever outbreak in China.

The December crude contract was down 38 cents at US$56.86 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down 15.2 cents at US$2.64 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was down $5.80 at US$1,457.10 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 1.8 cents at US$2.66 a pound.

With central bank decisions done and earnings results largely completed, Fehr doesn't see a catalyst for markets.

"So we're probably going to see markets kind of bounce around a little bit as we get incremental news, particularly as it relates to the trade situation, but no major needle movers this week."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2019.

Index and currency in this story: (TSX:PBH, TSX:ECA, TSX:HEXO, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

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