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S&P/TSX composite up, U.S. markets mixed amid flood of earnings reports

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TORONTO — North American markets were mixed, with some indexes posting modest gains on a day where an update from the U.S. Federal Reserve and a flood of earnings reports rippled into stock movement.

Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth, said he struggled to find companies that didn’t report strong earnings this quarter, although noted many North American stocks were flat because they had already gained so much in previous months.

An exception to that was Tilray Inc., one of the largest cannabis producers, which saw its shares surge 25.08 per cent.

"Tilray is certainly the story of the day," said Currie. 

"Analysts were expecting a loss of 25 per cent per share but they ended up making money... they pretty much had everything you want to hear from a company in terms of beating expectations and putting up a profit."

Cannabis stocks in general were what held up Canada’s main stock index, with the S&P/TSX composite’s healthcare index up by 9.95 per cent on the day.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 57.05 points at 20,230.40, with Currie saying the exchange would have been fairly flat if it weren't for strong performances from cannabis stocks.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 127.59 points at 34,930.93. The S&P 500 index was down 0.82 points at 4,400.64, while the Nasdaq composite was up 102.00 points at 14,762.58.

In the U.S., markets rose slightly after the Federal Reserve’s update started. 

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signalled that the U.S. would stay the current course, Currie said, with no immediate change to interest rates or stimulus.

While the U.S. economy is recovering, Currie said it hasn't recovered quite enough for the U.S. to taper stimulus measures. 

"(Powell) still seems to be saying the same kinds of things," said Currie.

"Certainly nothing has moved the market yet," in terms of his speech, said Currie.

Tech companies including Alphabet Inc. (the parent company of Google), Apple Inc., and Amazon Corp. all made gains after posting positive earnings Tuesday night, Currie said.

Alphabet finished the day strong with it's stock up 3.18 per cent to US$2721.88, while Apple was down 1.22 per cent and Amazon was up 0.11 per cent.

"A lot of people were expecting good profits, that's why there's not a big rise," said Currie.

Meanwhile in commodities, Currie said there was positive news for Canadian oil producers as demand remains strong and U.S. production levels have been lower than expected. 

The September crude oil contract was up 74 cents at US$72.39 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up 2.5 cents at US$3.97 per mmBTU.

The TSX's energy index creeped up as a result, rising 0.77 points.

There was little change in the Canadian dollar, with the loonie trading for 79.58 cents US compared with 79.50 cents US on Tuesday.

The August gold contract was down 10 cents at US$1,799.70 an ounce and the September copper contract was down 6.3 cents at US$4.48 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

The Canadian Press