Strength in energy stocks helped Canada's main stock index close slightly higher Monday, while U.S. stock markets also ended up to start the week.

Gains in oil and gas stocks, however, were offset by losses in financials, telecoms and utilities to leave the S&P/TSX Composite Index up only 20.64 points, or 0.10 per cent, on the day at 19,800.61.

“There’s a lot of mixed messaging in today’s market,” said Stephen Duench, vice-president and portfolio manager for AGF Investments Inc.

High bond yields continue to weigh on markets, amid increasing signs that interest rates will remain higher for longer.

Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged, but signalled it could hike one more time this year and halved its projections for cuts next year. The news helped set Wall St. on its worst week in six months.

U.S. markets were mixed during the trading day Monday but managed to make gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 43.04 points at 34,006.88. The S&P 500 Index was up 17.38 points at 4,337.44, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 59.51 points at 13,271.32.

The rise in bond yields is converging this week with a “cornucopia” of other market movers that are giving investors pause, said Duench. These include the end of the third quarter, a second impending government shutdown, and the seasonal volatility of September.

“We are in a seasonally weak period in the markets that also tends to coincide with some potentially large rebalancing into the end of quarter this week,” he said.

“We're firmly into the mud of the market here before we get into the thick of earnings, which will be coming around the corner in the U.S. into October.”

Another underlying theme Monday was some strength in energy stocks on both sides of the border, noted Duench.

The energy index on the TSX was up 1.9 per cent as companies like Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. climbed 2.4 per cent and Baytex Energy Corp. was up 3.7 per cent.

The November crude contract was down 35 cents at US$89.68 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was up three cents at US$2.91 per mm/BTU.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.23 cents compared with 74.27 cents U.S. on Friday.

The December gold contract was down US$9 at US$1,936.60 and the December copper contract was down three cents at US$3.67 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2023.

-- With files from The Associated Press