TSX Slips at Open

Health-Care Stocks Take Hit

Canada's main stock index fell on Monday, as investors turned cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy guidance and concerns over slowing global growth.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index faded 69.02 points to begin Monday and the last week before Christmas at 14,526.05

The Canadian dollar fell 0.1 cents to 74.59 U.S.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a Glencore-controlled mining company and some of its current and former executives have agreed to pay more than $22 million to settle Canadian allegations they hid the risks of doing business with an Israeli close to Congolese President Joseph Kabila

Zambia’s labour minister said First Quantum Minerals plans to lay off more than 1,000 workers at Zambia's Kalumbila copper-nickel mine when the government hikes taxes in January.

First Quantum shares docked 29 cents, or 2.5%, to $11.41.

RBC raised the rating on Superior Plus Corp. to outperform from sector perform". Superior shares gained 31 cents, or 3.3%, to $9.69.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada said foreign investment in Canadian securities totaled $4.0 billion in October, down from $7.8 billion in September. At the same time, Canadian investment in foreign securities increased to $14.9 billion, the largest investment since January 2018.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said home sales via Canadian MLS Systems fell by 2.3% in November 2018, adding to the decline in October of 1.7%. While the number of homes trading hands is still up from its low point in the spring, it remains below monthly levels posted from 2014 through 2017.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange picked up 0.22 points to 555.60

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups started out negative Monday, with industrials down 1.3%, information technology sinking 1.2%, and consumer discretionary stocks down 0.9%.

The two gainers were gold, up 0.9%, and consumer staples, up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks traded lower Monday after all three major U.S. indexes closed in correction territory for the first time since March 2016 in the prior trading session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 170.08 points to 23,930.48, with UnitedHealth and Goldman Sachs dragging the blue-chip index lower

The S&P 500 dropped 17.89 points to 2,582.06, amid a 1.1% loss in health care and a 1.3% decline in consumer discretionary.

The Dow is now more than 11% off its 52-week high; the S&P 500 is 12% off its record high notched back in September.

The NASDAQ dipped 45.33 points to 6,865.34, and turned negative for 2018 as Amazon fell more than 2%, Microsoft lost 1.2% and Nvidia shed 0.8%. The NASDAQ Composite is also in a correction.

Shares of Goldman Sachs fell 1.9% Monday after Malaysian authorities filed criminal charges against the bank and two former partners in connection with the 1MDB financial scandal.

The company is under fire for its role in helping raise $6.5 billion through three bond offerings for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which is the subject of investigations in at least six countries.

Electronics retailer Best Buy was on track for a rough day on Wall Street after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded its stock to underperform on concerns of slowing sales. Best Buy’s stock fell more than 2.5%.

Meanwhile, New York manufacturers reported on Monday that business activity is still expanding, but growth slower much more than expected in December. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey’s general business conditions index, aggregated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, fell to 10.9 from 23.3 in November, falling short the 20.6 print expected by economists polled by Refinitiv.

Homebuilder sentiment fell to its lowest level since May 2015 in December as potential buyers delay purchasing new homes despite a pullback in mortgage rates in the past month. Sentiment declined four points in December to 56, well below December 2017's print of 74, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

Investors are also on edge ahead of the December meeting of the Federal Reserve’s policymaking arm. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to hike its benchmark overnight lending rate for a fourth and final time of 2018 this week.

While fears of rising interest rates and an ambitious Fed have spooked markets throughout 2018, such concerns have evolved over the past month as inflation and growth expectations recede.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury were higher, lowering yields 2.86% from Friday’s 2.9%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices sank 67 cents to $50.53 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices added four dollars to $1,245.40 U.S. an ounce.