Commodities jump but TSX still loses steam
The main TSX index closed lower Thursday despite gains for oil and gold prices.
Six of the ten main sectors closed lower with IT, healthcare and materials losing the most; consumer staples was the session’s leading group followed by energy, financials and utilities.
Wall Street closed mixed with the Nasdaq closing lower, the S&P500 flat and the Dow posting yet another record high. Most European and Asian index were lower on regional earnings and data.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 49.02 (0.31 per cent)
The Dow Jones closed up 34.72 (0.17 per cent)
Oil is trending higher (Brent $56.49, WTI $54.37 at 4.40pm)
Gold is trending higher (1249.90 at 4.40pm)
The loonie is valued at U$0.
TFSA contributions dropped last year says BMO poll
Canadians contributed less to their retirement funds last year according to a poll by BMO.
Eighty-five per cent of respondents paid in an average of $1,000 less in 2016 than in 2015 with 43 per cent saying they did not have the money to invest and 36 per cent needing the cash for other expenses.
Those in BC contributed most ($5,898) while those in the Prairies invested the least ($3,220) and the average held in TFSAs was $17,328.
"While contribution levels are slightly lower, it's encouraging to see that Canadians, particularly millennials, have expanded their knowledge on the financial instruments they use – including the TFSA," said Ryan ffrench, Director, Term Investments, BMO Bank of Montreal.
"However, one-third are still unaware of the maximum annual contribution level, likely owing in part to changes made over the years, so more work can be done to ensure Canadians continue to gain awareness and knowledge as it relates to this important savings vehicle," ffrench added.
Canadians are earning more, working less
Average weekly earnings for non-farm payroll employees in Canada edged higher in December despite the ongoing trend of fewer working hours.
Statistics Canada reported Thursday that weekly wages were up 1 per cent from November to an average of $971, while average hours remained essentially unchanged at 32.8.
Construction and education workers drove the gains in wages on a 12-month basis, both rising 2.5 per cent to an average $1,234 and $1,042 respectively. Meanwhile, those in retail saw a 2.1 per cent drop year-over-year to $566 with little change in other sectors.
Increases were led by Prince Edward Island, followed by New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia. Earnings declined in Alberta, while there was little change in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.