Stocks Drop by Noon

Health-Care Takes Bruising

Equities in Canada’s largest centre lost steam rapidly by noon on Thursday as a decline in financials was offset by a firmer energy sector and gains in shares of BCE Inc after it reported quarterly results.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index abandoned earlier gains and fell 124.17 points to pause for lunch hour at 15,206.41

The Canadian dollar dwindled 0.24 cents at 79.33 cents U.S.

BCE was among the biggest lifts on the index, up 1.9% at $57.77 after the telecom company's quarterly profit narrowly beat analysts' estimates.

Shares of Suncor Energy supported the energy sector, gaining 1.9% to $43.25 after it reported higher fourth-quarter profit on stronger oil prices and lower costs.

Elsewhere in the sector, MEG Energy jumped 23.1% to $6.18 after it said it had agreed to sell some pipeline and storage assets in Alberta.

On the downside, banks slipped, with Royal Bank of Canada off 0.5% to $100.57 and Toronto Dominion Bank down 0.6 percent at $71.3.

Canada Goose Holdings slumped 15.4% to $40.47 after releasing its quarterly results.

Thomson Reuters declined 1.6% to $50.26 after the company beat Wall Street profit expectations in the fourth quarter but missed on revenue.

Aurora Cannabis was among the most actively traded stocks up 0.5% at $11.20 after the cannabis company reported results.

On the economic docket, Statistics Canada reported that prices for new houses were unchanged in December, while showing limited growth in some markets.

The trend in housing starts was 224,865 units in January 2018, compared to 226,346 units in December 2017, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


The TSX Venture Exchange had erased 7.07 points to greet noon at 823.62

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups had withered into negative territory by midday Thursday, as health-care slumped 2.1%, consumer discovery stocks slouched 1.6%, and energy was negative 1.1%.

The three gainers were gold, up 0.6%, real-estate, notching up but 0.1%, and utilities fighting their way higher by 0.03%.


Stocks fell sharply on Thursday as strong earnings and economic data were not enough to quell jitters from higher interest rates on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial fell without a parachute, 419.2 points, or 1.7%, by midday to 24,474.15, with financials as the worst-performing sector

The S&P 500 slipped 36.59 points, or 1.4%, to 2,645.07,

The NASDAQ stumbled 103.98 points, or 1.5%, to 6,948.

The move to higher bond prices (see below) follows the release of strong jobless claims data. Weekly jobless claims hit a 45-year low, totaling 221,000. They fell from 230,000 in the previous week.

The major U.S. indexes tried for gains earlier in Thursday's session after the release of strong earnings data.

Twitter and Grubhub reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Twitter shares soared 16%, while Grubhub spiked 25% higher.

This corporate earnings season has been strong. Of the S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Wednesday morning, 78% had announced better-than-expected earnings, according to Thomson Reuters

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note regained lost ground, lowering yields back to Wednesday’s 2.84%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices demurred 85 cents a barrel to $60.94 U.S.

Gold prices picked up $4.10 to $1,318.70 U.S. an ounce.