Health-Care Weighs on TSX

Aphria, Kinaxis in Forefront

Stocks in Toronto forgot their parachutes Thursday and traveled straight downward, as weakness in health and tech stocks cancelled out gains in energy issues.

The TSX faded 194.95 points, or 1.1%, to conclude business Thursday at 18,125.72

The Canadian dollar nosed ahead 0.03 cents at 78.94 cents U.S.

Health-care stocks took the worst battering, with Aphria stumbling $1.78, or 7.7%, to $21.23, while Aurora Cannabis dumped 85 cents, or 6.4%, to $12.40.

In the tech sector, Kinaxis slipped $28.24, or 17.3%, to $134.92, while Shopify plunged $88.78, or 5.8%, to $1,456.25.

Consumer discretionary names had a rough time of it as well, as Linamar docked $2.89, or 3.9%, to $70.88, while Canada Goose fell $2.21, or 3.8%, to $55.43.

Energy stocks tried to balance things out, as MEG Energy gained 68 cents, or 10%, to $7.48, while Parex Resources hiked $1.31, or 6.1%, to $22.93.

In the consumer staple area, George Weston added $2.27, or 2.3%, to $99.63, while Loblaw Companies picked up $1.30, or 2.2%, to $64.03.

Golds also came out positive, as Alamos Gold amassed 32 cents, or 3.5%, to $9.55, while B2Gold jumped 19 cents, or 3.2%, to $5.75.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange tumbled 65.67 points, or 6.6%, to 926.31.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative by the closing bell, with health-care surrendering 4.7%, information technology down 3.4%, and consumer discretionary off 2.2%.

The three gainers proved to be energy, up 2.8%, consumer staples, stronger by 1.2%, and gold, ahead 0.8%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell failed to reassure investors that the central bank would keep surging bond yields and inflation expectations in check.

The Dow Jones Industrials plunged 345.95 points, or 1.1%, to finish Thursday at 30,924.14

The S&P stumbled 51.25 points, or 1.3%, to 3,768.47.

The NASDAQ Composite thundered lower 274.28 points to 12,723.47, as growth stocks led the declines amid rising rates. Tesla shares dropped nearly 5%.

With Thursday’s steep selloff, the NASDAQ turned negative on the year with a 1.3% loss. The tech-heavy benchmark also fell into correction territory on an intraday basis, down more than 10% from its recent 52-week high.

Powell said the economic reopening could "create some upward pressure on prices," reiterating that the central bank would be "patient" before changing policy even as it saw inflation pick up in what it expects would be a transitory fashion.

The Fed chief did acknowledge the rapid rise in rates recently caught his attention, but said the Fed would need to see a broader increase across the rate spectrum before considering any action, he said during the Wall Street Journal Jobs Summit Thursday.

Additional stimulus measures could also inject optimism into the market. The Senate is currently debating the $1.9-trillion relief package passed by the House on Saturday. President Joe Biden has backed a plan to cut the income caps for Americans to receive stimulus checks.

Investors digested a better-than-expected reading on weekly jobless claims. First-time filings for unemployment insurance in the week ended Feb. 27 totaled 745,000, a touch below the Dow Jones estimate of 750,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys sagged, raising yields to 1.55% from Wednesday’s 1.47%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained $2.97 to $64.25 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices plummeted $20.20 to $1,695.60.