Canada markets closed

Stocks Sink on Mfg. Activity, Trump Threats

Baystreet.ca

Stocks in Canada’s largest centre continued substantially lower by noon on Friday on U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to slap new tariffs on China over the coronavirus crisis, and as data showed Canadian manufacturing activity slumped to a record low in April.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index came off their lows of the morning, but had still sagged 186.12 points, or 1.3%, to reach midday at 14,594.62.

The Canadian dollar slid 0.68 cents to 70.97 cents U.S.

Trump said late on Thursday his trade deal with China was now of secondary importance to the pandemic, as his administration crafted retaliatory measures over the outbreak.

North of the border, Canada's top medical officer said the country's coronavirus curve is flat but worrying trends are emerging, particularly outbreaks in vulnerable indigenous communities.

The energy sector dropped, with Imperial Oil down 51 cents, or 2.3%, to $21.98, as it swung to a loss.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Agnico Eagle Mines, which jumped $2.86, or 3.5%, to $84.19, after multiple brokerages raised price target on stock after its quarterly profit topped estimates.

The second biggest gainer was Pretium Resources, which rose 97 cents, or 9.1%, to $11.60, after it maintained its full-year production forecast.

Cineplex was down $1.78, or 10.7%, to $14.86, the most on the TSX, followed by Lightspeed POS fell $2.27, or 8.6%, to $24.10.

The most heavily traded shares by volume were Stagezero Life Sciences, up 1.5 cents, or 12%, to 14 cents, Bombardier, down a penny, or 2%, to 48 cents, and Baytex Energy, off two cents, or 4.5%, to 42.5 cents.

On the economic calendar, the Markit Purchasing Managers Index came out for April, and, at 33.0, the PMI was down sharply from 46.1 in March, to signal a rapid decline in manufacturing sector business conditions.

Elsewhere, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the appointment of Tiff Macklem, a former senior deputy at the Bank of Canada, as its next governor.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange subtracted 3.15 points to 468.59.

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were still negative by midday, with energy slipping 4.3%, real-estate and health-care each retreating 3.4%.

The two stalwarts were in gold, up 3%, and materials, advancing 2.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks slumped on Friday as shares of Amazon led the major indexes lower on the month’s first day of trading following its first-quarter results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had capsized 500.68 points, or 2.1%, to 23,845.04, as Dow Inc and Raytheon Technologies each fell more than 5%.

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The S&P 500 handed back 77.94 points, or 2.7%, to 2,834.51, with consumer discretionary and energy stocks leading the broad market index down.

The NASDAQ Composite shed 259.52 points, or 2.9%, to 8,630.51, as a host of big-tech names fell.

Amazon led declining stocks on the week’s final day of trading with shares down 7.2% after announcing plans to spend all its second-quarter profits on its coronavirus response. The e-commerce behemoth also posted a first-quarter profit that missed analyst expectations.

Apple reported quarterly earnings that topped analyst expectations, but its revenue growth remained flat on a year-over-year basis. It also did not offer guidance for the quarter ending in June amid uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak. The tech giant’s stock gained 1.3%.

Both Apple and Amazon are among the companies that led the S&P 500's comeback from the late-March lows and were two of the best performers in April. Amazon rallied nearly 27% in April while Apple jumped 15.3%.

Also weighing on sentiment was the possibility of another skirmish between China and the U.S. after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the Chinese will be held accountable for the coronavirus.

Wall Street was coming off its biggest monthly surge in over 30 years, with the S&P 500 gaining 12.7% while the Dow advanced 11.1%. It was the third-biggest monthly gain for the S&P 500 since World War II. The Dow had its fourth-largest post-war monthly rally and its best month in 33 years.

The NASDAQ closed 15.5% higher for April, logging in its biggest one-month gain since June 2000.

Stocks that would benefit most from that reopening jumped at the end of March, including Carnival Corp, losing 4%, MGM Resorts, down 6%, and Kohl’s, sinking 1.1%.

Hope for a potential treatment for the coronavirus has also helped the market make a comeback. Earlier in the week, Gilead Sciences said a study of its remdesivir drug conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases met its primary endpoint.

The number of new infections around the world has also fallen in recent weeks, leading some countries and U.S. states to slowly reopen their economies.

More than 3.2 million virus cases have been confirmed globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, with over one million infections in the U.S. alone.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury gained back lost strength, lowering yields to Thursday’s 0.63%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices acquired 35 cents to $19.19 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained $14.10 to $1,708.30 U.S. an ounce.