Markets roughed up

Tariff suspense leaves indices in the red

Stock indices in Canada’s largest market tumbled on Wednesday on concerns of a full-scale trade war between the United States and China after President Donald Trump threatened to impose more levies on Chinese goods.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index retreated 131.4 points from Tuesday’s all-time record close, to end Wednesday at 16,417.32

The Canadian dollar let go of 0.36 cents at 75.74 cents U.S.

Materials faltered, with copper miner First Quantum Minerals slipping $1.38, or 7%, to $18..41, making it the top decliner on the TSX, as copper prices fell, followed by diversified miner Teck Resources' decline of $1.47, or 4.4%, to $31.77

Gold issues took their lumps, too, as Barrick Gold slumped 51 cents, or 2.9%, to $17.07, while Goldcorp lost 72 cents, or 3.9%, to $17.49

Energy shares also faltered, with Suncor diving 27 cents to $54.41, while Canadian Natural Resources slid a dollar, or 2%, to $47.97.

Consumer staples shone amid all the gloom, with Restaurant Brands climbing $2.10, or 2.6%, to $83.21, while Saputo popped 43 cents, or 1%, to $44.71.

In health-care, another positive category, Canopy Growth grew 71 cents, or 1.9%, to $38.81, while Valeant Pharmaceuticals picked up 23 cents to $31.41.

In telecoms, BCE Inc. acquired 20 cents to $55.20, while Rogers Communications gained 24 cents to $64.50.

On the economic docket, the Bank of Canada – to no one’s surprise -- increased its target for the overnight rate to 1.5%. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1.75% and the deposit rate is 1.25%


The TSX Venture Exchange staggered 12.15 points, or 1.6%, to 728.19

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower on the day, led by materials, suffering 2.6%, while gold surrendered 1.8%, and energy lost 1.5%, of its strength.

The three gainers were consumer staples, up 2.2%, health-care, up 0.6% and telecoms, inching up 0.2%.


Stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday as a trade war between the U.S. and other major economies intensified, with the Trump administration unveiling new tariffs on Chinese goods.

The Dow Jones Industrials plummeted 219.21 points to 24,700.45, with Caterpillar, DowDuPont and Chevron as the biggest decliners. The 30-stock index also snapped a four-day winning streak.

The S&P 500 dipped 19.82 points to 2,774.02, as energy plunged more than 2%

The NASDAQ lost 42.59 points to 7,713.77

Shares of Boeing and Caterpillar — two companies with high overseas revenue exposure — fell, with Boeing off 1.9% and Caterpillar shedding 3.2%. Chipmakers also pulled back as Nvidia, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices all dropped more than 1.5%

Corporate earnings are expected to have risen 20% in the second quarter. The earnings season got under way this week with PepsiCo reporting better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday. J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are all scheduled to report later this week.

Shares of drug makers also fell after Pfizer said it will postpone price increases after a conversation with the president. Pfizer fell 0.6% before the bell, while Biogen dropped 0.2%. Merck declined 0.6%.

President Donald Trump's administration published late Tuesday a list of 10% duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The tariffs won’t come into effect immediately, but rather face a review process, with hearings taking place in mid-to-late August.

Trump is currently in Brussels attending a two-day NATO summit. During the first leg of his European trip, the U.S. incumbent has already made headlines by stating that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia," describing how a number of "inappropriate" oil and gas deals had given Moscow too much influence over Berlin.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 2.84% from Tuesday 2.87%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices removed $3.74 to $70.37 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices lost $12.70 to $1,242.70 U.S. an ounce.