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Canadian Stocks Are Falling As Crude Oil Drops - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market is under pressure in early trade Tuesday, following yesterday's strong gain. Energy stocks are leading the way lower this morning, as crude oil prices have dropped below $59 a barrel. Traders are also concerned over US trade, after some harsh comments from President Donald Trump.

"Canada does not treat us right in terms of the farming and the crossing the borders," Trump said. "We cannot continue to be taken advantage of by other countries."

He threatened increased duties on goods imported to America.

"We are going to charge countries outside of our country -- countries that take advantage of the United States," Trump said. "Some of them are so-called allies but they are not allies on trade. ... So we're going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you'll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months."

The majority of the European markets are trading modestly to the downside Tuesday. The FTSE 100 of the UK is one of the few markets trading to the upside, following the release of UK inflation data. A rise in the value of the Euro ahead of tomorrow's US inflation report is pressuring shares of European exporters.

Markets on Wall Street are struggling in early trade Tuesday, following yesterday's strong performance. After a weak open, the markets are attempting to pare their early losses. Investors are in a cautious mood ahead of the release of reports on consumer and producer price inflation in the coming days.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is down 31.47 points or 0.21 percent at 15,210.41.

On Monday, the index closed up 207.35 points or 1.38 percent, at 15,241.88. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,292.45 and a low of 15,113.96.

The Energy Index is falling 0.98 percent. Crude oil prices are lower Tuesday morning amid speculation that U.S. production will continue to rise.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is losing 0.31 percent and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is declining 1.54 percent. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is falling 2.39 percent and Enbridge (ENB.TO) is surrendering 0.53 percent. Encana (ECA.TO) is decreasing 1.98 percent and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is forfeiting 0.67 percent. Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is down 1.98 percent and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is weakening by 2.74 percent.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is down 0.32 percent. BCE (BCE.TO) is weakening by 0.62 percent and TELUS (T.TO) is falling 0.44 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is decreasing 0.14 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is down 0.15 percent and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is losing 0.03 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is falling 0.29 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index is down 0.14 percent. Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is declining 1.15 percent and Finning International (FTT.TO) is losing 0.75 percent. Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) is also falling 1.24 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 1.01 percent. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is climbing 0.59 percent and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) is higher by 2.15 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is adding 0.55 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is up 0.77 percent. Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is advancing 0.47 percent and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is rising 0.18 percent.

The Capped Healthcare Index is higher by 0.37 percent. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) is up 1.41 percent and Extendicare (EXE.TO) is rising 0.36 percent.

The Gold Index is increasing 0.34 percent. Gold prices are nearly flat Tuesday morning, despite the continued volatility in the equity markets.

Kinross Gold (K.TO) is rising 0.80 percent and IAMGOLD (IMG.TO) is increasing 2.29 percent. B2Gold (BTO.TO) is gaining 1.64 percent and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) is advancing 1.21 percent.

Ontario utility Hydro One (H.TO) said fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share was $0.29, and EPS was $0.26, compared to $0.22 in the prior year. Shares are rising 0.39 percent.

DHX Media (DHX-B.TO) is up 0.33 percent after its second quarter profit jumped from a year ago. The company said it would pursue strategic options last year.

On the economic front, French payroll employment continued to increase in the fourth quarter, data from the statistical office Insee showed Tuesday. Private payroll employment climbed 53,300 or 0.3 percent from the third quarter. Employment had advanced the same 0.3 percent or 49,600 in the September quarter.

UK inflation remained stable in January as downward pressure from auto fuel and food prices was offset by upward effect from recreational and cultural goods. Inflation came in at 3 percent in January, the same rate as seen in December, the Office for National Statistics reported Tuesday. Inflation was forecast to slow to 2.9 percent.

British house price inflation accelerated slightly in December, after easing in the previous month, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday. The house price index climbed 5.2 percent year-over-year December, faster than the 5.0 percent rise in November, which was revised down from a 5.1 percent increase reported earlier.

In commodities, crude oil futures for March delivery are down 0.58 or 0.98 percent at $58.71 a barrel.

Natural gas for March is up 0.076 or 2.98 percent at $2.628 per million btu.

Gold futures for April are up 0.799 or 0.06 percent at $1,327.20 an ounce.

Silver for March is down 0.075 or 0.45 percent at $16.495 an ounce.

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