Stocks Dawdle by Noon Hour

Vermilion, Martinrea in Focus

Equities in Toronto had subsided Friday noon EST from the levels at which they finished Thursday, as weaker performance by health-care and tech stocks overcame gains in communications and energy fields.

The TSX dropped 106.78 points to move into noon hour at 18,018.94

The Canadian dollar inched back 0.06 cents at 78.81 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were oil producer Vermilion Energy, up 39 cents, or 4.4%, to $9.21, and methanol producer Methanex which rose $2.66, or 5.4%, to $51.54.

Martinrea International fell $1.80, or 11.8%, the most on the TSX, to $13.40, after the automobile parts producer's fourth-quarter results, followed by Kinaxis, down $6.10, or 4.5%, to $129.39, after multiple brokerages cut their price targets on the IT service provider's stock.

On the economic schedule, Statistics Canada reports that this country posted a trade surplus of $1.4 billion in January, the first since May 2019, owing to a sharp 8.1% increase in merchandise exports. Imports rose 0.9% in January compared with the previous month.

Western University’s IVEY School of Business’ Purchasing Managers Index The index registered 60 for February, towering above the 48.4 reading in January, and also surpassing the 54.1 figure for February 2020.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange tumbled 58.75 points, or 6.7%, to 867.56.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative midday, with health-care scaling down 6.6%, information technology weaker 4%, and consumer discretionary stocks off 1.7%.

The four gainers were led by communications, up 2.3%, energy, rumbling 2.1%, and financials, ahead 0.9%.

ON WALLSTREET

The stock market resumed its selloff on Friday pressured by the continued weakness in high-flying tech names, while a better-than-expected jobs report failed to boost sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrials shed earlier gains and headed south 55.29 points to pause for lunch at 30,868.85.

The S&P slid 18.01 points to 3,750.46, on track to post its fourth straight losing day

The NASDAQ Composite plummeted 204.35 points, or 1.6%, to 12,519.12, pushing its 2021 losses to more than 3%.

Tech shares with lofty valuations got hit by rising bond yields again, continuing the pattern this week. Higher rates decrease the present value of future cash flows, making long-duration assets less attractive. Tesla tumbled more than 12%.

Pandemic winner Peloton has slid 19% and Zoom Video has skidded 14%, this week. Red-hot investor Cathie Wood, who focuses on innovative companies, saw her flagship fund lose double digits this week and wipe out its 2021 gains.

Stocks that would benefit from a rapid economic comeback gained in the wake of the jobs report, providing the overall market with some cushion. The S&P 500 energy sector rose more than 1% as Occidental Petroleum gained nearly 6%. Some banks and many retailers jumped.

The NASDAQ has dropped nearly 6% this week, on pace for its worst weekly slide since March 2020 in the depth of the pandemic rout. The tech-heavy benchmark also fell into correction territory, or down 10% from a recent high, on an intraday basis.

The U.S. Labor Department on Friday reported that non-farm payrolls jumped by 379,000 for the month and the unemployment rate fell to 6.2%. That compared to expectations of 210,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate to hold steady from the 6.3% rate in January, according to Dow Jones.

Friday’s rally followed a steep selloff on Thursday triggered by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks on rising bond yields. The Fed chair said the recent runup caught his attention but he didn’t give any indication of how the central bank would rein it in. Some investors had expected Powell to signal his willingness to adjust the Fed’s asset purchase program.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys sagged, raising yields to 1.57% from Thursday’s 1.55%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices picked up $2.03 to $65.86 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices shed seven dollars to $1,633.70.