Stocks Roughed Up Wednesday

Energy Takes Hit

Equities in Canada’s largest centre fell deeply into the red on Wednesday, with energy and mining stocks leading declines, as investors fled riskier assets on worries over a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index plunged 99.12 points to end Wednesday at 16,327.35

The Canadian dollar snoozed 0.15 cents to 74.46 cents

Suncor Energy dwindled $1.09, or 2.5%, in price to $42.92, while Canadian Natural Resources withered 56 cents, or 1.5%, to $36.10.

In the materials sector, First Quantum Minerals slumped $1.18, or 10.7%, to $9.82, while Agnico Eagle Mines drifted lower 76 cents, or 1.4%., to $54.10.

Gold stocks suffered, too, as Kinross Gold surrendered two cents to $4.18, while New Gold lost six cents, or 6.7%, to 84 cents.

Tech stocks tried their best to even things out, as Shopify hurtled skyward $7.36, or 2%, to $373.30, while Constellation Software muscled higher $24.37, or 2.1%, to $1,206.59.

In health-care, Canopy Growth jumped $1.55, or 2.6%, to $61.87.

In consumer staples, Loblaw Companies gained 12 cents to $69.91, while Metro acquired a dime to $49.87.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada says retail trade increased for the second consecutive month, rising 1.1% to $51.3 billion in March. Sales were higher in seven of 11 sub-sectors, representing 39% of retail trade.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange nudged downward 1.85 points to 610.56.

The 12 Toronto subgroups were evenly split to end the session, with energy weakening 2.5%, materials down 2%, and gold off 1.5%.

The half-dozen gainers were led by information technology issues, which soared 1.4%, health-care better by 1%, and consumer staples, up 0.9%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks pulled back on Wednesday as trade worries increased while declines in Qualcomm and retailer shares also dampened market sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrials lost 100.72 points to close Wednesday at 25,776.61, as Apple lagged.

The S&P 500 slid 8.09 points to 2,856.27, with the tech sector sliding 0.6%.

The NASDAQ Composite dropped 34.88 points to 7,750.84.

Qualcomm shares fell 10.9% — their biggest one-day drop since Jan. 23, 2017 — after a U.S. judge ruled the chipmaker violated antitrust law by unlawfully suppressing competition in the cellphone chip space.

Shares of Qualcomm have been under pressure all month, falling 19.5% through Wednesday’s close.

Retailers were also under pressure after the release of quarterly results from companies in the sector. Lowe’s fell more than 11.9% on weaker-than-expected earnings. Nordstrom, meanwhile, dropped 9.3% as its quarterly earnings and revenue missed expectations.

Target was the bright spot among retailers. The company’s stock rose more than 9% as its earnings and revenue topped analyst expectations. Same-store sales, a key metric for retailers, also surpassed estimates.

Investors also looked ahead to the release of the U.S. central bank’s meeting minutes. The Federal Reserve is expected to provide insights into the May 1 meeting, when policymakers left interest rates unchanged and signaled little appetite to adjust them any time soon.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that a trip to Beijing to retake trade negotiations has not been scheduled yet. This lowered hope of a speedy resolution to the U.S.-China trade war.

President Donald Trump followed through with his threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25% earlier this month. China immediately responded by upping the tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods to as high as 25%.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 2.39% from Tuesday’s 2.43%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices docked $1.83 to $61.44 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices eked up 10 cents to $1,273.30 U.S. an ounce.