Russia-Ukraine Conflict Exacts Toll on N. American Markets

Nutrien, Natural Resources in Focus

Equity markets in Toronto felt around for the bruises much of the day, as weakness consumer and financial stocks overwhelmed strong gains in resource stocks. Investors are still worried about the state of affairs in Ukraine, as Russian troops continued their assault.

The TSX Composite tumbled 143.8 points to close Tuesday at 20,982.56.

The Canadian dollar doffed half a cent to 78.45 cents U.S.

Market leaders included T-D, sagging $3.39, or 3%, to $98.87, while Suncor Energy moved north 37 cents, or 1%, to $39.12.

Nutrien shares swooned $1.22, or 2.2%, to $107.80, while Canadian Natural Resources improved 49 cents to $71.30, and Enbridge added 51 cents to $55.27.

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021, following a 1.3% rise in the third quarter.

The agency went on to say real GDP posted a strong 4.6% growth in 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic-induced decline (-5.2%) in 2020.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will supply anti-tank weapons and upgraded ammunition to Ukraine to support its fight against a Russian invasion, and it will ban imports of Russian crude oil.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture added 2.96 points to 852.53.

Of the 12 TSX subgroups, seven were negative, as consumer discretionary stocks dropped 3.3%, while financials and health-care issues each wilted 1.9%.

The five gainers were led by gold, better by 4.6%, materials, picking up 2.4%, and energy revved up 1.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks slid Tuesday, the first day of March, as oil prices surged and investors continued to monitor the fighting between Russia and Ukraine

The Dow Jones Industrials weakened 598.64 points, or 1.8%, to end Tuesday at 33,294.95.

The S&P 500 stumbled 67.7 points, or 1.6%, to 4,306.24.

The NASDAQ Composite Index dropped 218.94 points, or 1.6%, to 13,532.46.

Financial stocks were some of the biggest losers on the day, with Bank of America down 3.6%, Wells Fargo off 5% and Charles Schwab tumbling more than 6%.

The lower bond yields could potentially take a bite out of bank profits, while the conflict in Eastern Europe and sanctions on Russia have some traders worried about disruption in credit markets.

Some of the market’s losses were offset by strong Target earnings, as the big box retailer posted profit of $3.19 a share that was well ahead of Wall Street estimates. Shares jumped 11%.

The lower bond yields could potentially take a bite out of bank profits, while the conflict in Eastern Europe and sanctions on Russia have some traders worried about disruption in credit markets.

As corporate earnings season winds down, cloud giant Salesforce reports results after the close.

The decline in stocks came as satellite cameras captured a convoy of Russian military vehicles apparently on its way to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

The continued aggression from Russia pushed energy prices higher. West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped 5% on Tuesday morning, breaking above $101 per barrel and hitting its highest level in seven years.

On the economic front, construction spending data for January came in well above expectations, while purchasing manager’s index readings from the Institute for Supply Management and Markit were both roughly in line with estimates.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury gained sharply, lowering yields to 1.72% from 1.83% on Monday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The price of oil leaped $8.65 to $104.37 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices ballooned $46.00 to $1,946.70 U.S. per ounce.