(Adds details throughout, updates prices to close)
* TSX ends down 138.16 points, or 0.7%, at 18,678.64
* Energy sector falls 3.4%; oil settles 7.9% lower
* Materials group loses 1.7%
* Rogers Communications ends 2.6% higher
By Fergal Smith
TORONTO, July 12 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell on Tuesday to its lowest level in 16 months as a slide in oil prices weighed on energy shares and looming rate hikes by major central banks stoked concerns of a global economic slowdown.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 138.16 points, or 0.7%, at 18,678.64, its lowest closing level since March 2021.
Wall Street also ended in negative territory as growing signs of recession kept buyers out of the equities market ahead of a key U.S. inflation report. The data could help guide expectations for further aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.
Canada’s central bank is expected to tighten by three-quarters of a percentage point on Wednesday, which would be its biggest hike in 24 years.
“Looks like we’re going to get 75 basis points. I don’t think there’s much doubt in that,” said Allan Small, senior investment adviser of the Allan Small Financial Group with iA Private Wealth.
“I just don’t agree with these hikes as quickly as they’re coming now. It is time to pause and see what these rate hikes have actually done to the economy.”
The energy sector fell 3.4% as U.S. crude prices settled 7.9% lower at $95.84 a barrel, with demand-sapping COVID-19 curbs in top crude importer China adding to fears of a global economic slowdown.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.7% as gold and copper prices fell.
Combined, energy and materials account for about 30% of the TSX’s market capitalization.
Industrials were also a drag, falling 0.8%.
Canada’s telecoms regulator said it has ordered Rogers Communications to respond to questions about last week’s network outage that impacted millions of Canadians.
Rogers stock ended 2.6% higher, clawing back some of Monday’s decline. (Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto Additional reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru Editing by Matthew Lewis)