TSX in Negative Country by Noon

Health-care Stocks Flex Muscle

Equities in Canada’s biggest centre staged a small comeback by noon from much lower levels at Tuesday’s open, led by a surge in health-care issues.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained in the red 53.6 points to greet noon Tuesday at 16,330.03

The Canadian dollar surrendered 0.4 cents to 75.35 cents U.S.

Among health-care concerns, Valeant Pharmaceuticals climbed $1.13, or 3.6%, to $32.22, while Canopy Growth spiked $2.50, or 6.2%, to $43.15.

Utilities also had a good time, with Hydro One clicking 14 cents higher to $19.94.

In the gold sector, Kinross Gold gained six cents, or 1.2%, to $5.00.

Consumer discretionary stocks moved lower, particularly Magna International, fading $2.79, or 3.2%, to $83.90, and Gildan Activewear, down 42 cents, or 1.1%, to $38.34.

In techs, BlackBerry lost 40 cents, or 2.5%, to $15.70, while Constellation Software reversed $24.03, or 2.3%, to $1,034.84. Desjardins raised the target price on Terago Inc. to $6.00 from $5.75. Terago shares backpedaled 11 cents, or 1.8%, to $5.94.

Credit Suisse raised the price target on Baytex Energy to $5.50 from $4.50. Baytex shares gained two cents to $4.49.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange slid 1.33 points to 750.91

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided by noon hour, with health-care racing 4%, while utilities and gold each gained 0.3%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by consumer discretionaries, down 1.2%, while information technology and materials slid 0.9% each.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell sharply on Tuesday after President Donald Trump's latest threat to China increased fears of an impending trade war between the world's largest economies.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 292.45 points, or 1.2%, to 24,695.02, with Boeing, DowDuPont and Caterpillar as the worst-performing stocks in the index. The 30-stock index also erased all of its gains for the year and was on pace to post a six-day losing streak, its longest since March 2017.

The S&P 500 lost 16.87 points to 2,756.88, with materials, industrials and tech all falling more than 1%.

The NASDAQ sank 59.6 points, off its lows of the morning, to 7,687.43

Ford Motor, which also does a large amount of business in China, saw its stock pull back about 2%. Meanwhile, Caterpillar and Boeing— considered to be two bellwethers for trade tensions on Wall Street —both dropped at least 3%.

Shares of railroads and package shippers dropped on fears a trade war would slow the economy and reduce the amount of imported goods for them to ship around the country. FedEx and J.B. Hunt both dropped more than 1.5%. CSX lost 1.7%.

Shares of some of the biggest chipmakers fell given their large exposure to China. Qualcomm and Nvidia both dropped at least 1%.

Semiconductor and semiconductor equipment companies have a revenue exposure of 52% to China, according to a recent report from Morgan Stanley.

Trump asked the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs, at a rate of 10%. If China "refuses to change its practices" and insists on continuing with the new tariffs it recently declared, then the additional levies would be imposed on Beijing, Trump said Monday night.

Soon after, the Chinese Commerce Ministry issued a response, stating that the latest threat of more tariffs violates previous negotiations and consensus reached between both the U.S. and China. "The United States has initiated a trade war that violates market laws and is not in accordance with current global development trends," the ministry said.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury gained, lowering yields to 2.89% from Monday’s 2.92%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.02 to $64.83 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices lost $2.70 at $1,277.40 U.S. an ounce.