Miners, financials drag TSX index to three-week low

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By Shashwat Chauhan

(Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell on Monday to touch its lowest level in three weeks, dragged down by tepid performances among miners and financials, while investors await the last round of interest rate decisions this year from major central banks.

At 1024 a.m. ET (1524 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 25.74 points, or 0.13%, at 19,921.33.

The materials sector, which includes miners of precious and base metals, shed 0.7% as gold prices trickled lower. [GOL/]

Energy was a bright spot, climbing 1.4% as prices edged higher.

Investor focus will remain sharply on the latest U.S. inflation reading due on Tuesday, as it will be the final pit-stop before the Federal Reserve’s rate decision a day later.

The U.S. central bank is expected to deliver a half-percentage-point rate hike, along with The European Central Bank and the Bank of England, who are expected to raise their lending rates later in the week.

“It will be interesting to see just how much of (Fed rate hike) weighs because markets are starting to worry more about recession fears,” said Greg Taylor, a portfolio manager at Purpose Investments.

“They don’t want to sound too aggressive as there is the risk of making a fairly big mistake if they start hiking more aggressively into a recession.”

Heavyweight financials lost 0.6%.

Including Monday’s trading, the TSX is down 6% year-to-date, outperforming the U.S. benchmark , which has lost more than 17% this year.

Elsewhere, the ratio of Canadian household debt-to-income narrowed slightly to 182.4% in the third quarter from an upwardly revised record 182.6% in the second quarter, as per data by Statistics Canada.

Among single stocks, Imperial Oil (NYSE:) shed 1.4% and slipped to the bottom of the TSX after the oil and gas company announced preliminary results of its substantial issuer bid.

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