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Stock markets flat as the longest and strongest bull market continues

TORONTO — North American stock markets were flat Thursday on new fears of a global economic slowdown even as the current bull market became the longest and strongest in history.
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TORONTO — North American stock markets were flat Thursday on new fears of a global economic slowdown even as the current bull market became the longest and strongest in history.

Since March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 has gained 468 per cent to outpace the second-longest run from 1949 to 1956.

The streak continues as the U.S. market closed at another record high that was short of an all-time intraday record reached two days earlier.

"It is longest and best performing bull market ever, which is pretty good," said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth. 

He said the run is nothing but good news for investors but its duration often makes people nervous about when it will all end. A 20 per cent reduction will signal a bear market while a 10 per cent contraction will mark a correction.

The streak nearly ended last December when it fell about 19.2 per cent.

"A lot of people have missed out on the 468 per cent gain waiting for the 10 per cent correction," he said in an interview. "For 10 years, betting on it ending has been a bad move."

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 14.19 points at 16,972.18 to hit a record close for a third consecutive day.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.63 points at 27,781.96. The S&P 500 index was up 2.59 points at 3,096.63, while the Nasdaq composite was down 3.08 points at 8,479.02.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.43 cents US compared with an average of 75.48 cents US on Wednesday.

Seven of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were higher, led by utilities as investors sought safety.

Materials was higher as gold appreciated on economic concerns while China's factory activity slowed significantly more than expected last month, Germany barely avoided a recession, and Japan’s economy slowed almost to a halt.

The December gold contract was up US$10.10 at US$1,473.40 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 1.8 cents at US$2.62 a pound.

Fresh concerns about the prospects for the first phase of a trade deal between the U.S. and China were taken in stride by investors, said Currie.

"The partial deal seemed like a done deal not too long ago and now it seems like it's all in question. They're talking tariffs again so that's got people a little bit pessimistic but it's not having a huge effect on equity markets (but) positive gold today."

In addition to tariffs, questions remain about Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

The health care sector lost 3.8 per cent as cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. plummeted 14.3 per cent. It hit a 2019 low after reporting a $374.6-million quarterly loss, missing analyst revenue estimates and warning that a key revenue target may not be achieved. 

"It caught a lot of people by surprise," said Currie.

The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings lost 9.8 per cent, Aurora Cannabis Inc. was down 6.6 per cent and Cronos Group Inc. six per cent.

Energy was also lower on a drop in crude oil prices that pushed down Enbridge Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Encana Corp.

The December crude contract was down 35 cents at US$56.77 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was up 4.7 cents at US$2.65 per mmBTU.

Crude prices decreased after OPEC said its surplus will be smaller and demand will drop in the future while weekly U.S. statistics pointed to record high production and U.S. crude stockpiles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ENB, TSX:CVE, TSX:ECA, TSX:TGOD, TSX:ACB, TSX:CRON, TSX:WEED, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press




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