TSX Cools off Tuesday

Gold, Health-care Losses Weigh on Market

Equities in Canada’s largest centre finished in the red Tuesday, despite improvement in the price of Bank of Nova Scotia shares after the lender reported results and an advance in shares of industrial companies.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index sagged 43.51 points to close Tuesday at 15,671.15

The Canadian dollar fell 0.54 cents to 78.28 cents U.S.

Gold stocks were hit the hardest on Tuesday, with the world’s largest producer, Barrick Gold, reeling 51 cents, or 3.3%, to $14.97, while Goldcorp turned down 20 cents, or 1.2%, to $16.00

Health-care stocks also took a pounding, particularly Aphria Inc, down 47 cents, or 3.6%, to $12.45, while cannabis rival Aurora Cannabis lost 21 cents, or 2.1%, to $9.95.

Among materials, Erdene Resource Development Corporation lost 1.5 cents, or 3.4%, to 42.5 cents, while Agnico Eagle Mines retreated $2.07, or 4%, to $49.20.

On the other hand, consumer staples were stronger Tuesday, as Loblaw Companies prospered 82 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.21, while Restaurant Brands International moved up 45 cents to $75.25.

The tech group climbed as The Stars Group gained four cents to $34.00

Scotiabank's quarterly earnings topped market expectations. Its shares climbed $1.16, or 1.5%, to $79.95. Royal Bank shares gained 50 cents to $102.89.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announces his budget this hour, and the document is expected to be a restrained one, with just enough spending to assuage middle class voters under pressure from rising rates - while expressing caution amid uncertainty over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange plummeted 11.67 points, or 1.4%, to 815.20

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower by the closing bell, with gold dulling in price 2.5%, while health-care stumbled 1.9%, and materials were 1.3% weaker.

The five gainers were led by consumer staples, up 1.2%, information technology, ahead 0.5%, and financials, inching up 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell for the first time in four days Tuesday after comments from new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sent rates higher.

The Dow Jones Industrials lost 299.24 points, or 1.2%, to close the session at 25,410.03, with Disney and Home Depot weighing down the 30-stock index.

The S&P 500 subtracted 35.32 points, or 1.3%, to 2,744.28, as real estate, consumer discretionaries and telecommunications pulled the broader market lower.

The Dow and S&P 500 have more than halved their correction losses. From the Dow and S&P's 52-week intraday highs, the indexes are down 4.5% and 4.4% respectively through Monday's close.

The NASDAQ Composite deleted 91.11 points, or 1.2%, to 7,330.35, amid declines in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet.

Macy's stock surged more than 3.5% after the company reported better-than-expected earnings results. In an interview, CEO Jeff Gennette said same-store sales were up 3% in January.

In merger and acquisition news, Comcast announced a cash offer Tuesday to buy European pay-TV group Sky for 22.1 billion pounds ($31 billion U.S.). Meanwhile, deal talks between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen have stalled without an agreement.

Shares of both Comcast and Disney (which is also seeking ownership of Sky) fell Tuesday, down 6.5% and 4.2% respectively.

Meanwhile, deal talks between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen have reportedly stalled without an agreement

Powell, the new chair, signaled the central bank could hike rates more than three times this year should economic and inflation data continue to prove healthy.

On the data front, U.S. home prices increased 6.3% compared to December 2016, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home prices index. The rally in prices comes as demand skyrockets against record low supply.

U.S. consumer confidence topped 130.8 in February, a 17-year high. Feelings about short-term economic prospects accelerated in January after declining sharply the month before. The index takes into account Americans' views of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell sharply, lowering yields to 2.9% from Monday’s 2.86%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices weakened $1.01 a barrel to $62.90 U.S.

Gold prices dropped $13.20 to $1,319.60 U.S. an ounce.