Losses in Canada’s largest market numbered in the triple digits Wednesday, as losses in health-care giant Valeant Pharmaceuticals and in the telecom sector pushed values down.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index plummeted 228.47 points, or 1.5%, to close Wednesday at 15,442.68
The Canadian dollar fell 0.36 cents to 77.94 cents U.S.
Valeant was the biggest drag on the index, down $2.76, or 11.6%, at $20.99 after the drug maker gave a disappointing outlook for 2018 with several of its major drugs facing more competition from generics.
Telecoms also got bruised, as TELUS Corporation slumped 31 cents to $46.43, while Shaw Communications backtracked 42 cents, or 1.7%, to $24.82.
Among industrials, Bombardier gave back two cents to $4.07, while Western Forest Products staggered 12 cents, or 4.1%, to $2.73.
The technology sector was up, helping to temper declines. Among advancing shares, CGI Group rose 11 cents to $75.00, while Shopify rose $1.75, or 1% to $177.96
Gold stocks eked up, as Goldcorp acquired seven cents to $16.07, while Kinross Gold moved up seven cents, or 1.5%, to $4.61.
Among utilities, Fortis Inc. gained 26 cents to $42.04.
The Trudeau government tackled long-term growth challenges on Tuesday in a budget aimed at boosting women in the workforce and diversifying trade, while keeping its fiscal powder dry in case of an economic shock like the demise of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
On the data front, Statistics Canada said its industrial product price index rose 0.3% in January, mainly due to higher prices for energy and petroleum products.
The agency also said its raw material price index increased 3.3% during the same month, primarily as a result of higher prices for crude energy products, during the same month.
The TSX Venture Exchange strengthened 13.94 points, or 1.7%, to 829.12
All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups lost ground, particularly health-care, dropping 1.2%, while telecoms subsided 1.1%, and industrials slouched 1%.
The three gainers included information technology and gold, each prospering 0.3%, while utilities took on 0.1%.
American stocks fell sharply in choppy trade Wednesday, giving up earlier gains, as Wall Street wrapped up a volatile month for the major averages.
The Dow Jones Industrials took a header of 380.83 points, or 1.5%, to finish Wednesday at 25,029.20, with Caterpillar as the worst-performing stock in the index.
More than half of the day's losses came in the final hour of trading with the Dow losing more than 240 points in the final 60 minutes.
The S&P 500 dropped 30.45 points, or 1.1%, to 2,713.83, with energy as the worst-performing sector.
The NASDAQ Composite reversed 57.35 points to 7,373.01
The Dow and S&P 500 snapped 10-month winning streaks, their longest since 1959. The NASDAQ posted a monthly loss for the first time in eight months. For the month, the Dow closed lower 4.3%, and S&P 500 shed 3.9%. The NASDAQ closed February down 1.9%.
In corporate news, home improvement retailer Lowe's reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings, sending the company's stock down more than 6%.
Booking Holdings — formerly known as Priceline — saw its shares spike more than 6% after reporting better-than-expected adjusted earnings.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained slightly, lowering yields to 2.87% from Tuesday’s 2.90%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices retreated $1.48 a barrel to $61.53 U.S.
Gold prices added 20 cents at $1,318.80 U.S. an ounce.