TSX Wounded on Trade Worries

Eldorado, Cenovus Take Beatings

Canada's main stock index fell on Thursday, weighed down by financial and energy shares, while investors feared that the Trump administration's plan to impose import tariffs on China could trigger a global trade war.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index was pummeled 217.74 points, or 1.4%, to pause for noon hour at 15,457.54

The Canadian dollar inched lower 0.13 cents at 77.4 cents U.S.

First Majestic Silver fell two cents to $2.90, while one of the largest decliners was Eldorado Gold, down 5.9% to $1.27, on a muted forecast and suspension of quarterly dividend.

Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Eldorado, Aurora Cannabis and Trican Well Service.

BlackBerry said it would provide software for Tata Motors' luxury car brand Jaguar Land Rover. The company once known as Research In Motion slumped 38 cents, or 2.2%, to $16.58.

Cenovus Energy said it was running oil sands production below capacity and stockpiling excess oil due to trouble with exporting through maxed-out pipelines to the United States. Cenovus shares swooned 59 cents, or 5.1%, to $10.93.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that during January, those of us drawing regular Employment Insurance benefits decreased by 5,800, or 1.2%, in January to 494,200, continuing a downward trend that began in October 2016.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange stumbled 11.62 points, or 1.4%, to 819.53

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative by noon, weighed most by health-care, subsiding 3%, energy, down 2.3%, and consumer discretionary stocks, off 1.9%.

The two gainers were real-estate and utilities, each edging up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday, pressured by worries of a potential trade war and a decline in tech shares. The broader market was also pressured by a decline in bank stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average wilted 494.69 points, or 2%, to reach noon ET at 24,187.62, with Caterpillar, 3M and Boeing as the biggest decliners.

The S&P 500 slipped 49.18 points, or 1.8%, to 2,662.75, with tech and financials dropping more than 2%.

The NASDAQ composite Index faltered 141.27 points, or 1.9%, to 7,204.01

Google-parent Alphabet fell 2.7% and dipped into correction territory.

Bank stocks, meanwhile, fell along with Treasury yields. Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America all traded lower.

Tech shares have been under pressure lately amid a sharp decline in Facebook shares. News broke recently that data research firm Cambridge Analytica gathered data from 50 million Facebook profiles without the permission of its users.

Shares of Facebook have been under pressure all week, sliding 8.5% through Wednesday's close. On Thursday, the social media behemoth’s shares dropped 1.7%

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence over the news, telling media outlets it had been "a major breach of trust, and I'm really sorry that this happened."

Stocks hit their lows of after The New York Times reported John Dowd resigned as Trump's lead lawyer in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Stocks were also pressured as the Trump administration was set to announce later on Thursday tariffs designed to punish China for intellectual property theft. Some reports indicate the administration will slap $50 billion in tariffs to Chinese goods.

Investors also digested the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision. As widely expected by the markets, the Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday and upgraded its economic outlook, saying that economic activity and jobs gains had been strong in recent months.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note grew sharply to lower yields to 2.82% from Wednesday’s 2.89%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices moved back 68 cents a barrel to $64.49 U.S.

Gold prices gained $6.90 to $1,328.40 U.S. an ounce.