Stocks Dwindle on Slowdown Fears

Semafo, Linamar in Focus

Equities in Toronto fell on Friday as fears of a broadening global economic slowdown and data that showed a rise in unemployment rate kept investors away from riskier bets.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index plunged 119.75 points to greet noon at 15,583.61

The Canadian dollar recovered 0.21 cents to 75.33 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were shares of Semafo, which jumped 16 cents, or 5.7%, to $2.99, after reporting its 2019 outlook, followed by a rise of $1.71, or 4%, in units of Brookfield Business Partners, to $44.94, after the company reported results.

Linamar Corp fell $3.49, or 6.7%, to $48.58, followed by CI Financial which was down $1.14, or 6.2%, to $17.36, after reporting quarterly results.

In the economic docket, Statistics Canada said the economy created 67,000 jobs in January, mostly among youth aged 15 to 24 and in the services-producing industries.

The unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 5.8% as more people looked for work.

Moreover, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says the seasonally-adjusted annual rate came in at 207,968 units for the first month of the year compared with 213,630 in December.

Economists had expected an annualized pace of 205,000 for January

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange fell 4.29 points to 613.01

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative midday, with energy swooning 1.4%, health-care waning 0.9%, and financials off 0.8%

The two gainers were gold, up 0.6%, and materials, nosing up 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Friday as market participants continued to worry about ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations as well as slowing economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hurtled lower 277.77 points, or 1.1%, to 24,891.76, led lower by shares of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase.

The S&P 500 lost 22.68 points to 2,683.96, as the energy and financials sectors lagged.

The NASDAQ Composite slouched 57.92 points to 7,230.44.

Qorvo shares dropped more than 9% while Micron Technology lost 2.6%. Nvidia, meanwhile, declined more than 1.5%.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the two countries have not yet put together a draft on the matters they agree or disagree. The report comes as a key early March deadline approaches.

It also follows President Donald Trump saying on Thursday he will not meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before that deadline. White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow also said there is a "pretty sizable distance to go" before China and the U.S. reach a deal.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained, lowering yields to 2.63% from Thursday’s 2.66%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices docked 27 cents to $52.37 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $3.80 to $1,318 U.S. an ounce.