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TSX down as Wall St. turns to record high amid progress on U.S. government shutdown

Last Updated Jan 22, 2018 at 3:20 pm MST

TORONTO – Wall Street hit a record high after U.S. Congress moved closer to ending a government shutdown, as Canada’s main stock index slipped into the red.

The S&P/TSX composite index edged back 5.48 points to 16,347.98, with materials and industrials leading decliners.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 142.88 points to 26,214.60. The S&P 500 index added 22.67 points to 2,832.97 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 71.65 points to 7,408.03.

U.S. stocks got off to a weak start in morning trading on Monday, but turned higher at noon after U.S. Congress moved closer to ending a government shutdown after Senate Democrats dropped their objections to a temporary funding bill. The truce came after Republican leaders said they will soon address immigration and other contentious political issues.

While the market has seemed to shrug off the bitter divide between Republicans and Democrats that led to last Friday’s U.S. government shutdown, “it’s becoming old news for investors,” said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser at HollisWealth.

“We’re all kind of waiting for some deal to work its way through — it’s just a matter of when, and hopefully the sooner the better. They got a deal this afternoon … and they succeeded in kicking the can down the road for a little bit.”

On the Canadian corporate front, shares of medical marijuana company Aurora Cannabis Inc. rose $1.02, or 7.57 per cent, to $14.50, as rival CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. gained $3.02, or 8.69 per cent, to $37.79. A truce between the two companies will continue past the original Monday deadline — CanniMed has been fending off a hostile takeover by Aurora, which wants the company to abandon its friendly takeover of Newstrike Resources Ltd.

Meanwhile, Empire Company Ltd.’s stock was up 28 cents, or 1.10 per cent, to $25.78 after subsidiary Sobeys Inc. became the latest Canadian grocer to wade into e-commerce. Sobeys signed a partnership deal with Ocado Group for the British company to help build the grocer’s online shopping business.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 80.27 cents US, up 0.01 of a U.S. cent.

In commodities, the March crude contract added 26 cents to US$63.57 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was up four cents to US$3.22 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract gained US$1.20 to US$1,331.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was up one cent at US$3.20 a pound.

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(Companies in this story: TSX:ACB, TSX:CMED, TSX:EMP.A)