The plunge in global stock markets seeped into Canada as a raft of new coronavirus cases in numerous countries outside China heightened concerns about the ability to prevent the illness from spreading and its potential economic impact.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index tumbled 1.6% as of 1:35 p.m. in Toronto — its biggest drop in about six months — while its American counterpart nosedived by more than double that amount as the S&P 500 Index skidded to the first three-day decline this year. British Columbia just announced a seventh virus case in the province.
Still, about 15% of the Canadian stock market was in the green as investors flocked to safe havens, showcasing the local market’s resilience to big sell-off days. The price of gold hovered near $1,700 an ounce amid mounting worries that the pathogen known as Covid-19 could turn into a global pandemic. That helped boost gold stocks listed in Canada.
Barrick Gold provided the biggest boost to the index, advancing 4.3%, along with other gold miners such as Iamgold Corp., Centerra Gold Inc. and Eldorado Gold Corp. Earlier, Haywood $1,800: Haywood” class=”terminal-news-story” target=”_blank”>recommended investors “load up” on junior gold mining companies as gold prices set a “new floor” at $1,600 amid the coronavirus fear, and may move toward the $1,800 level.
The Canadian benchmark’s small weighting of tech stocks also helped stemmed the rout as heavyweights in the U.S. like Apple Inc. and Microsft Corp. were pummeled. While Shopify Inc. was the biggest drag to the S&P/TSX, the decline in all 10 members of the sector was only about half that of miners.
The plunge in U.S. long-bond yields and real interest rates sinking further into negative territory have also sent the shares of some utility firms, real estate investment trusts and telcos highers as investors hunt for income. Northland Power Inc. surged 1%, while Quebecor Inc. jumped 0.5%.
Here are some other notable moves today:
- MTY Food Group Inc. surged as much as 16% the owner of frozen-yogurt chain Pinkberry reported fourth quarter results that were delayed due to whistleblower allegations, which it deemed “baseless.”
- Ballard Power Systems, which had about 32% of its 2018 revenue from China, had the largest drop among S&P/TSX stocks, fell 14%. Peer FuelCell Energy also tumbled after threatening to spike its license agreements with Korean partner Posco Energy.
- Enerflex Ltd fell 8.2%, its biggest drop since 2011, after revenue for the fourth quarter came in below the average analyst estimate.
- Energy and industrial metal miners were among the losers due after metal and oil prices fell on coronavirus fear. First Quantum Minerals Ltd., MEG Energy Corp., Lundin Mining Corp. were among the biggest decliners
- Air Canada also dropped about 5.7% amid virus fear
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