TSX posts small gain after Easter holiday weekend US markets barely changed

TORONTO – The Toronto stock market capped a quiet trading session little changed Monday as it looked for but found little direction from usually volatile commodity markets.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 32.08 points to 13,390.19 in the first day back from the Easter long weekend.Canada’s main market, with a heavy weighting in resource stocks, got support from the utilities and financial sectors, but was pulled down slightly by base and precious metal miners.The Canadian dollar was up 0.34 of a U.S. cent at 75.87 cents US.Commodities were mixed, as April gold fell to its lowest level in more than a month, with bullion retreating $1.50 to US$1,220.10 a troy ounce.The May contract for North American benchmark crude oil was flat, down seven cents at US$39.39 a barrel, while May natural gas was up five cents at US$1.94 per mmBTU. May copper added two cents to US$2.25 a pound.“Commodities are keeping the TSX tame today,” said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Mo.“In the absence of data that provides conviction both to the upside or downside, we’re just going to see flat days like this. Investors are sitting back, taking stock of the volatility we’ve seen so far (this year). But I don’t think we’re going to see these calm markets continue. I think volatility is going to return. It’s going to be on the back of some data that really incites that volatility.”There was positive economic news out of the U.S., but the data was not enough to push New York indexes much higher.Wall Street stayed muted, as the Dow Jones industrial average gained 19.66 points to 17,535.39, while the broader S&P 500 added 1.11 points to 2,037.05. The Nasdaq pulled back 6.72 points to 4,766.79.The Commerce Department said U.S. consumer spending grew for a third consecutive month in February, but only by a meagre 0.1 per cent and matching similar lacklustre growth in the previous two months.Consumer spending is one of the indicators the U.S. Federal Reserve is watching closely to help it decide when it will hike interest rates.At its meeting this month, the central bank decided to leave a key rate unchanged while signalling that it now expected to boost rates only two times this year, down from previous expectations of four rate hikes.Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen will discuss her views on the economy in a highly anticipated speech Tuesday before the Economic Club of New York.— With files from The Associated PressFollow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly referred to the April contract for crude oil by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 28, 2016 8:21 am MDT Last Updated Mar 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TSX posts small gain after Easter holiday weekend; U.S. markets barely changed read more