TSX Recovers After NDP's Alberta Win Sparks Energy Sector Concerns

TSX Recovers After NDP's Alberta Win Sparks Energy Sector ConcernsThe New Democratic Party's (NDP) victory in Alberta's provincial election caused the TSX to drop on Wednesday as energy stocks took a hit.

Specifically, the S&P/TSX Composite index (INDEXTSI: OSPTX) dropped 0.99 percent, or 150.05 points, to close at 15,023.89 points. The dip marked a one-month low and put seven out of 10 of the main sectors on the index in the red.

Energy stocks make up about 22 percent of the index, and while Wednesday's oil price boost would usually have driven them up, the political news pushed them down by 2.9 percent.

While Thursday brought a small recovery, with the index closing up 0.43 percent, at 15,055.82 points, the political climate change in the oil-rich province could cause future rifts in the energy sector. Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley's win over Jim Prentice ended the Progressive Conservative party's 44-year hold on power in the province, and the oil sands policy changes Notley may put in place could have ill effects on energy companies.

Notley has vowed to take a closer look at royalty rates and develop more strict environmental policies in a bid to reduce Alberta's carbon footprint. Those promises have added to the fears of companies working in the province, as the slumping oil price has already made it tough to stay afloat. Such new policies could drive away investment capital, adding to already deep spending cuts and thousands of job layoffs.

Looking at what an increase in royalty rates could mean for the energy space, Elvis Picardo, vice president and strategist at Global Securities, told Mining Weekly, "[t]he implications of a rise in royalty rates would be quite negative for the Canadian energy sector, coming as it would at a time of unprecedented turmoil caused by the plunge in crude oil prices."