TSX Takes Pasting

Real-Estate Towers, Health-Care Wilts

Equities in Canada’s largest market took heavy losses Thursday, as health-care continued its slump, well ahead of any gains posted by real-estate and utility issues.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index docked 80.2 points to finish Thursday at 16,204.01

The Canadian dollar moved lower 0.07 cents at 80.88 cents U.S.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals added to Wednesday’s sharp losses, though Thursday’s losses were but three cents to 4.7% to $24.48.

Elsewhere among health-care stocks, Canopy Growth dove $3.27, or 9.4%, to $31.60.

Gold also took it on the chin as Goldcorp lost 17 cents to $18.21, while Barrick Gold slid 25 cents, or 1.4%, to $18.29.

In other resource stocks, Agnico Eagle Mines shed 10 cents to $60.47, while First Majestic Silver dropped 71 cents, or 8.1%, to $8.05.

U.S. negotiators have held firm in their demands for a wide-ranging overhaul of NAFTA, three sources close to the talks said on Thursday, raising questions about whether any real movement is happening at the latest negotiating round on the treaty.

Electronics manufacturing services company Celestica fell 75 cents, or 5.5%, to $12.86, after reporting fourth-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday that missed estimates.

Real-estate stocks held out against the downward tide Thursday, as Colliers International Group climbed $1.15, or 1.5%, to $76.80, while in the utilities sector, Hydro One gained 20 cents to $22.13.

Statistics Canada said retail sales increased for the third consecutive month in November, rising 0.2% to $50.1 billion. Sales were up in six of 11 sub-sectors, representing 37% of total retail trade.

Furthermore, the nation’s number crunchers said average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $988.00 in November, increasing 0.6% from October. Compared with 12 months earlier, earnings were up 2.8%, with most of the gains having occurred since July 2017.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said even he did not know what potential there may be for further interest rate hikes this year, reiterating that policymakers remained both data dependent and alert to developments with North American Free Trade Agreement.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange slumped 7.47 points to conclude Thursday at 886.12

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower on the day, with health-care ducking 4%, gold, dulling in price 1.8%, while materials were weaker 1.4%

The four gainers were led by real-estate, up 0.3%, utilities, better by 0.2%, and consumer discretionary stocks, up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a record on Thursday on the back of stronger-than-expected quarterly results from Caterpillar and 3M.

The blue chips improved on Wednesday’s all-time record by 140.67 points to 26,392.79

The S&P 500 regained 1.71 points to 2,839.25, a record

The NASDAQ dipped 3.89 points to conclude a roller-coaster session at 7,411.16

Shares of Caterpillar rose as much as 2.8% before finishing 0.6% higher, while 3M gained 1.9%. Celgene and McCormick also reported better-than-forecast quarterly earnings and sales.

Calendar fourth-quarter earnings and sales have mostly beat analyst expectations thus far. Of the companies that have reported quarterly results, 78% have beaten earnings expectations, while 82% have surpassed revenue estimates

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed, lowering yields ba to 2.62% from Wednesday’s 2.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices hesitated 33 cents a barrel to $65.28 U.S.

Gold prices faltered $8.40 to $1,347.90 U.S. an ounce.