Major stock indices flat ahead of major central bankers conference - NEWS 95.7
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Major stock indices flat ahead of major central bankers conference

Last Updated Aug 21, 2017 at 6:40 pm ADT

TORONTO – North American stock indices capped off Monday on a muted tone as investors await signals from an upcoming major central bankers conference scheduled to begin later this week.

On Bay Street, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index inched down 0.45 of a point to 14,951.88.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 29.24 points to 21,703.75 while the S&P 500 index advanced 2.82 points to 2,428.37. The Nasdaq composite index shed 3.40 points to 6,213.13.

Canadian markets strategist Craig Fehr says he expects markets to stay relatively flat ahead of a gathering Thursday in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where central bankers, economists and policy makers will meet. The annual conference, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, ends on Sat., Aug. 26.

“I think investors are taking a little bit of a pause ahead of that meeting,” said Fehr, who works at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

“In the absence of a major headline or a major piece of data, it is likely to be a bit of a wait-and-see approach until we get more clarity out of Jackson Hole.”

Investors will be looking for information on the plan and timeline for various central banks, especially the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, to withdraw some of their stimulus, Fehr said.

Elsewhere in currency markets, the Canadian dollar continued its advance for a fourth consecutive day, trading at an average price of 79.52 cents US, up 0.07 of a U.S. cent. It has risen 1.12 of a U.S. cent since last Tuesday’s daily average price of 78.40 cents US.

In commodities, the October crude contract lost $1.13 to US$47.53 per barrel and the September natural gas contract gained 6.9 cents to US$2.96 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract moved ahead $5.10 to US$1,296.70 an ounce and the September copper contract advanced 4.1 cents to US$2.98 a pound.

By Aleksandra Sagan in Vancouver.

Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.

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