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Equities Slip on Virus Fears

Stock indices in Canada remained red as morning turned into afternoon on Thursday, as investors worried over the economic impact of the coronavirus following an increase in the U.S. death toll, while gold miners benefited from safe-haven demand.

The TSX Composite Index came off their lows of the morning, but remained behind Wednesday’s close by 122.92 points by noon Thursday to 16,656.61

The Canadian dollar stumbled 0.12 cents to 74.59 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were NovaGold Resources, which jumped three cents to $11.56, and Yamana Gold, which rose six cents, or 1.1%, to $5.71.

Spin Master fell $9.41, or 32.1%, the most on the TSX, to $19.90, after it said the coronavirus will impact its global operations. The second biggest decliner was Cineplex, down $1.98, or 6.1%, to $30.50.


The TSX Venture Exchange deducted 4.1 points to 521.64.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative midday, with consumer discretionary issues backing off 2.4%, financials, slipping 1.5%, and health-care, sicker by 1.1%.

The five gainers were led by consumer staples, surging 0.9%, gold, up 0.6%, and materials, better by 0.1%.


Stocks plunged on Thursday, following a massive relief rally in the previous session, as markets remained choppy in the face of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrials recovered somewhat from an initial plunge, but remained down on the day by 636.06 points, or 2.4%, to break for lunch at 26,454.80

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The broader S&P 500 reared back 67.68 points, or 2.2%, to 3,062.44.

The NASDAQ floundered 150.33 points, or 1.7%, to 8,867.76.

The tumbling yields kept pressure on the equity of U.S. regional and consumer-facing banks, which led the major indexes lower. Truist Financial dropped 5.8%, M&T Bank fell 5.1% and Fifth Third sank 4.9%.

The weekly jobless claims data on Thursday underscored the labour market strength despite the outbreak. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 3,000 to 216,000 for the week ended Feb. 29. Economists had forecast claims would fall to 215,000 in the latest week.

Fears about the coronavirus disrupting the global economy continued to grip Wall Street as countries around the world extended quarantines and travel restrictions. California declared a state of emergency after a coronavirus-related death and 53 confirmed cases in the state.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury moved sharply higher, lowering yields to 0.93% from Wednesday’s 1.04%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 14 cents to $46.64 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained $19.10 to $1,662.10 U.S. an ounce.