Stock markets stabilize after stormy start to year

North American markets stabilized in Tuesday trading and finished the day relatively unchanged. China boosted global sentiment after injecting an estimated $20 billion US to support its equity and currency markets, seeking to prevent a repeat of Monday's big slide.

Mood remains fragile after Monday's big sell-off

A man walks past a screen displaying market data and exchange rates between the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

North American markets stabilized in Tuesday trading and finished the day relatively unchanged. China boosted global sentiment after injecting an estimated $20 billion US to support its equity and currency markets, seeking to prevent a repeat of Monday's big slide. 

The benchmark index in Toronto — the S&P/TSX composite index — was down seven points to 12,920 at the close of trading, while the Dow Jones industrial average ended with a gain of 10 points at 17,159.

West Texas crude oil futures dropped 79 cents to settle at $35.97 US a barrel.  Despite the drop in oil prices, energy stocks rose, as did health-care stocks, telecoms and utilities. Financials were flat on the day.  

The Canadian dollar fell a quarter of a cent to close at 71.48 cents US.

Before the markets opened, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian producer prices fell 0.2 per cent in November because of lower prices for precious metals like gold and silver. It was the fourth consecutive monthly drop.

Gold rose $4 an ounce on Tuesday to $1,079 US — a two-week high — adding to Monday's 1.3 per cent rise.  

Chinese shares listed in Shanghai and Shenzen ended little changed on Tuesday. Panic selling on Monday sent shares diving seven per cent, sending most Asian, European and North American markets lower.

The global index rose 0.2 per cent on Tuesday, with markets in London and Frankfurt higher, though many big Asian exchanges including Japan, Australia and Hong Kong closed in the red.
 
"The price action reminds investors that the world is more connected than ever; volatility is likely here to stay, and liquidity may suffer if investor uncertainty worsens," Citi analysts told Reuters. 

With files from Reuters

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