Stocks Remain Negative by Noon

Cronos, First Quantum in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest centre fell on Wednesday, with energy and mining stocks leading declines, as investors fled riskier assets on worries over a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index came off its lows of the morning, but remained negative 88.61 points midday to 16,337.86

The Canadian dollar snoozed 0.09 cents to 74.52 cents

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Cronos Group, which jumped $1.05, or 5%, to $21.96, and Boralex, which rose 27 cents, or 1.5%, to $18.44.

First Quantum Minerals fell 86 cents, or 7.8%, the most on the TSX, to $10.14. The second biggest decliner was New Gold, down four cents, or 4.4%, to 86 cents.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada says retail trade increased for the second consecutive month, rising 1.1% to $51.3 billion in March. Sales were higher in seven of 11 sub-sectors, representing 39% of retail trade.


The TSX Venture Exchange edged forward 0.57 points to 612.98.

Eight of the 12 Toronto subgroups were negative to end the morning, with energy down 1.8%, materials fading 1.3%, and financials off 0.6%

The four gainers were led by health-care, up 1.5%, information technology, which picked up 1%, and utilities, better by 0.3%.


Stocks pulled back on Wednesday as trade worries increased while declines in Qualcomm and retailer shares also dampened market sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrials were down 79.49 points to greet noon at 25,797.84, as Intel lagged.

The S&P 500 decreased 6.97 points to 2,857.39, with the tech sector sliding 0.3%.

The NASDAQ Composite dropped 30.68 points to 7,755.05.

Qualcomm shares fell 10.4% after a U.S. judge ruled the chipmaker violated antitrust law by unlawfully suppressing competition in the cellphone chip space.

Shares of Qualcomm have been under pressure all month, falling 9.7% through Tuesday’s close.

Retailers were also under pressure after the release of quarterly results from companies in the sector. Lowe’s fell more than 11% on weaker-than-expected earnings. Nordstrom, meanwhile, dropped 9.4% as its quarterly earnings and revenue missed expectations.

Target was the bright spot among retailers. The company’s stock rose 9% as its earnings and revenue topped analyst expectations. Same-store sales, a key metric for retailers, also surpassed estimates.

Investors also looked ahead to the release of the U.S. central bank’s meeting minutes. The Federal Reserve is expected to provide insights into the May 1 meeting, when policymakers left interest rates unchanged and signaled little appetite to adjust them any time soon.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that a trip to Beijing to retake trade negotiations has not been scheduled yet. This lowered hope of a speedy resolution to the U.S.-China trade war.

President Donald Trump followed through with his threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25% earlier this month. China immediately responded by upping the tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods to as high as 25%.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 2.39% from Tuesday’s 2.43%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices docked $1.69 to $61.44 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $2.60 to $1,275.80 U.S. an ounce.