Stocks Sharply Lower as Virus Crisis Deepens

Savaria in Focus

Canada's main stock index opened lower for the first time in four sessions on Friday, as concerns over the rapidly spreading coronavirus outweighed optimism around a stimulus package.

The TSX Composite Index dropped 550.50 points, or 4.1%, to start out Friday at 12,820.67

The Canadian dollar gave back 0.3 cents at 70.93 cents U.S.

National Bank of Canada cut the target price on Air Canada to $30.00 from $45.00. Air Canada slumbered $1.83, or 10.2%, to $16.08.

Canaccord Genuity raised the target price on Centerra Gold to $13.50 from $12.00. Centerra surrendered 14 cents, or 1.5%, to $9.31.

Scotiabank cut the target price on Savaria Corp to $14.00 from $16.50. Savaria shares started out down $1.23, or 11.1%, to $9.83.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that the average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $1,051 in January, up 0.6% from the previous month.

Year over year, earnings rose 4.0%. Non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 33.0 hours per week in January, up from both the previous month (32.8 hours) and January 2019 (32.6 hours).

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dumped 1.07 points to 397.36.

All 12 TSX subgroups move lower, with energy down 6.2%, consumer discretionary slumping 6%, and utilities off 5.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell sharply on Friday, giving back some of the strong gains experienced in the previous three days to cap off another volatile week on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrials handed back 935.42 points, or 4.2%, to 21,616.25.

The broader S&P 500 lost 93.48 points, or 3.6%, to 2,536.53,

The NASDAQ slipped 259.21 points, or 3.3%, to 7,538.32.

Still, the major averages entered Friday’s session up sharply for the week. The S&P 500 was up 14.1% and NASDAQ gained 13.3%, through Thursday’s close. The Dow had rallied 17.6%.

Chevron, Boeing and American Express led the 30-stock Dow lower, sliding more than 5% each. Energy and industrial s were the worst-performing sectors in the S&P 500 as the dropped 5.8% and 4.3%, respectively.

The Dow rallied more than 6% Thursday to post its biggest three-day gain since 1931. From Monday’s close through the end of Thursday’s session, the Dow was up more than 20%. The S&P 500 also rallied more than 6% and was up over 20% since Monday’s close as well.

Global cases of the coronavirus have surged to more than 542,700 with at least 85,996 in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. has now overtaken China as the country with the most confirmed cases in the world. President Donald Trump held a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, saying the two countries are “working closely together” to fight the pandemic. Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained, lowering yields to 0.74% from Thursday’s 0.84%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 96 cents to $21.64 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices ditched $13.90 to $1,616.40 U.S. an ounce.