Canadian stocks took a beating soon after Thursday's opening, as tidings from Asia, Europe and the States gave off generally bad vibes.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index plummeted 119.58 points, or 1%, to begin Thursday at 11,639.76
The Canadian dollar was down 0.42 to 97.78 cents U.S.
Among stocks to watch this morning, Yukon-Nevada Gold Corp. said its CEO, Robert Baldock, resigned. CFO Shaun Heinrichs and COO Randy Reichert will now also serve as co-CEOs.
Gazit-Globe Ltd said it plans to take Gazit America private for $7.32 per share, valuing the company at about $170.6 million.
Natural gas whiz Encana Corp. will speed its hunt for oil and natural-gas liquids as it looks to diversify its production away from low-value natural gas.
Imperial Oil Ltd. formally withdrew a highly contested plan to truck huge loads of equipment over a mountain pass on the Idaho/Montana border, having already moved them to its Alberta oil sands project via alternative routes.
Oil and gas producer Niko Resources Ltd. said total proved plus probable natural gas reserves have fallen almost 51% to 377 billion cubic feet equivalent as it struggles with low reserves at its KG D6 block in India.
Globalive, an upstart entrant to Canada's wireless industry that fought court battles over its own level of foreign ownership, has filed a complaint to the regulator over the concentration of foreign funding at its much larger rival Telus.
On matters economic, Statistics Canada said this morning that retail sales swooned 0.5% in April. In volume terms, retail sales decreased 0.8%, the third decline in four months.
On the brighter side, those receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits decreased for the third straight month in April, down 28,600, or 5.3%, to 513,700.
The TSX Venture Exchange stepped back 12.73 points to 1,241.84. The Nasdaq Canada index slid 4.13 points to 373.16
Among the 14 Toronto subgroups, only utilities held out against the generally negative tide, eking out a gain of 0.04%.
Every other group went south, led downward by energy, off 2.5%, metals and mining, getting clocked by 2.3%, and global base metals, being punished 2%.
U.S. stocks traded on either side of the breakeven line at Thursday's open as investors shrugged off disappointing domestic and international economic signs.
The Dow Jones Industrials faded 36.94 points to begin the session at 12,787.95
The S&P 500 dipped 6.62 points, at 1,349.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index stumbled 19.24 points to 2,911.21
Shares of drugstore chain Rite Aid rose after it reported a loss of three cents U.S. a share, a bit better than the forecast of a four cents U.S.a share from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, or the seven cents a share it lost a year earlier.
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond sank more than 10%, after the retailer offered disappointing guidance for the current quarter after the bell on Wednesday.
Shares of open source software provider Red Hat fell 7% after it posted a better-than-forecast gain in earnings late Wednesday, but reported disappointing billings for the quarter.
Food maker ConAgra posted a better-than-expected increase in operating earnings, and said fiscal-year profit would also rise more than current forecasts. But a charge related to its pension plans resulted in it reporting a net loss.
Cigarette maker Philip Morris International which sells the brands of Altria Group such as Marlboro in overseas markets, cut its full-year earnings guidance, citing a bigger hit from currency exchange rates.
Dow component Johnson & Johnson is close to settling a probe with the Justice Department into the company's promotion of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, which could include a payment of $1.5 billion U.S., according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The payment would be the largest ever for the company, according to the report, but it would avoid a felony charge that could prevent the company from selling its medicines to government health programs such as Medicare. Shares of J&J were down.
Overseas economic reports released Thursday show it's not just the U.S. where the economy is weaker than hoped.
That came on the heels of a Wednesday announcement by the Federal Reserve that it would continue helping the market, though not doing as much as many investors had hoped.
The Fed said Wednesday that it will extend Twist -- its policy of swapping short-term Treasuries in its portfolio for debt with a longer duration -- until the end of the year, in an effort to jumpstart sluggish economic growth and hiring. The Fed said it stood ready to take additional action if needed.
Economic weakness has moved around the globe. Chinese manufacturing fell to a seven-month low -- a sign that factories there are being hit by sluggish demand, according to the preliminary report of HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index.
Meanwhile, Europe's PMI index for June remained near a three-year low, as manufacturing output in Germany -- the most important European economy -- fell at the fastest rate in three years. It was the second straight month of decline.
Economically speaking, there were 387,000 first-time filings for unemployment benefits in the week ended June 16, little changed from the prior week but a bit above the forecast of 380,000 from the economists surveyed by Briefing.com.
Existing home sales for May were expected to come in at an annualized rate of 4.56 million in the 10 a.m. ET report. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators index for May is expected to remain unchanged, after decreasing by 0.1% in April. And the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index is expected to decline by 0.2%, far less than the 5.8% drop a month ago.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury moved up a bit, lowering yields to 1.62% from Wednesday's 1.64%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
The price of a barrel of oil fell 81 cents to $80.64 U.S.
Gold futures for August delivery dropped $32 to $1,582.80 U.S. an ounce.