Stocks Roughed up Thursday Noon

Ballard Bloodied


Equities in Canada’s largest centre fell hard early Thursday afternoon, tracking Wall Street, as investors booked profits after a strong run in recent weeks that was powered by bets of more global stimulus and signs of a pickup in business activity.

The TSX dropped 258.46 points, or 1.6%, to reach noon Thursday at 16,439.48.

The Canadian dollar sank 0.57 cents to 76.08 cents U.S.

Ballard Power Systems fell $1.64, or 8.1%, the most on the TSX, to $18.67, and the second biggest decliner was First Quantum Minerals, discarding 78 cents, or 5.8% to $12.60.

Canopy Growth shares changed their colours from green to red, dropping six cents to $21.29.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Air Canada, which jumped 16 cents to $18.26, after the carriersaid it plans to conduct a study on international travelers arriving at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, to test the effectiveness of various COVID-19 quarantine periods.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported this morning that Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world widened from $1.6 billion in June to $2.5 billion in July.

The agency went on to say imports increased 12.7% in July, while exports rose 11.1%.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange crumbled 17.89 points, or 2.4%, to 731.75.

All but one of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative, with information technologies stumbling 3.9%, while materials lost 2.7%, and gold off 2.6%,

Only energy stood out against the negative tide, gaining 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell sharply on Thursday as investors paused in the wake of a recent rally to all-time highs. Tech, the market leader since the rebound began in late March, was the biggest laggard.

The Dow Jones Industrials fell without a parachute, losing 599.28 points, or 2.1%, to pause for lunch Thursday at 28,501.22.

The S&P 500 forfeited 98.47 points, or 2.1%, to 3,482.37.

The NASDAQ Composite tumbled 501.32 points, or 4.2%, to 11,555.12.

Apple shares fell more than 5%. Facebook, Amazon and Netflix were all down at least 4%. Microsoft slipped 4.6%. Alphabet pulled back by 3.8%. The S&P 500 tech sector traded 4.3% lower and was on track for its biggest one-day decline since June 11, when it fell 5.8%. The sector was also headed for its first losing session in 11 trading days.

Shares of beaten-down companies that would benefit from the economy reopening rose, bucking tech’s negative trend. Cruise operator Carnival advanced 5.1%. Macy’s popped 9.4%.

Thursday’s moves came after another record-setting session for the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite. That run-up was powered by cyclical stocks, those that move in response to the health of the U.S. economy, and added to the market’s strong move off the March 23 lows.

Since late March, the S&P 500 is up more than 55% and the Nasdaq has rallied nearly 70%. The Dow has surged more than 50% in that time. To be sure, some analysts think it may be time for the market to consolidate some of its recent sharp gains.

The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits totaled 881,000 for the week ending Aug. 29, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected first-time applications to have decelerated to 950,000 during the week ending Aug. 29.

That report came a day ahead of a widely anticipated U.S. jobs report. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect the U.S. economy to have added 1.321 million jobs in August. The jobs report will be released as lawmakers struggle to reach a deal on further coronavirus stimulus.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury gained slightly, lowering yields to 0.63% from Wednesday’s 0.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell 59 cents to $40.92 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices let go of $9.50 to $1,935,20 U.S. an ounce.