Stocks Take it on Chin By Lunch Time

GE, AMC in Focus


Canada's main stock index fell on Tuesday, dragged by weakness in the materials sector, while concerns about potential roadblocks to U.S. stimulus weighed on investor sentiment.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dipped 21.72 points to reach noon hour Tuesday at 17,884.30.

The Canadian dollar skidded 0.15 cents to 78.69 cents U.S.

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals fell $1.57, or 6.6%, the most on the TSX, to $22.34, after brokerage Mackie Research downgraded the rating of the biotech firm and the second biggest decliner was Yamana Gold, down 16 cents, or 2.5%, to $16.38, after the miner released its preliminary fourth quarter and 2020 production results.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were TFI International, which jumped $4.07, or 4.7%, to $90.15, after multiple brokerages raised the price target of the logistics services provider's stock.

Its gains were followed by Canopy Growth, which rose $2.95, 7.1%, to $44.80, after pot producer launched a new line of Cannabidiol products for pets.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 8.74 points, to 963.24

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday as Wall Street geared up for the heart of corporate earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrials moved lower 4.21 points to 30.955.79

The S&P 500 squeaked higher 0.18 points to 3,855.54

The NASDAQ gained 18.23 points Tuesday to 13,654.22.

Strong earnings results from some of the larger companies with more impact on the indexes supported the market on Tuesday. General Electric shares jumped 9% on its better-than-expected industrial free cash flow for the fourth quarter and a rosy outlook for the year. Johnson & Johnson popped more than 3% after the drugmaker’s earnings topped expectations.

Tech giant Microsoft will announce its fiscal second-quarter earnings after the bell. Shares of Microsoft climbed more than 1%.

Wild swings resumed in heavily shorted stocks, including GameStop and AMC Entertainment, as enthusiastic retail investors active in chat rooms bet against short-selling hedge funds. The volatility has some investors concerned about stocks becoming detached from fundamentals as speculation runs rampant.

GameStop was up another 20% on Tuesday. AMC gained more than 10%.

Companies started the earnings season with a high beat rate. Of the S&P 500 components that have already reported earnings, over 70% have topped Wall Street’s expectations on both sales and earnings, according to data from Bank of America.

On the COVID-19 front, health officials and policymakers continued to caution the public about new strains of the virus. Moderna said Monday that its vaccine does provide some protection against a variant found in South Africa, while officials in Minnesota reported the first U.S. confirmed case of a strain found in Brazil.

Investors are also waiting for a new policy statement from the Federal Reserve as the central bank begins its two-day meeting on Tuesday.
Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen was confirmed as Treasury secretary, becoming the first woman to hold the position.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys were unchanged, keeping yields at Monday’s 1.04%.

Oil prices lost 30 cents to $52.47 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices faded $3.70 to $1,851.50 U.S. an ounce.