Lower Open for TSX on Oil, China Virus

Hudbay, Maple Leaf in Spotlight

Equities in Toronto opened lower on Thursday, pressured by losses in energy stocks as fears that the spread of the new coronavirus may hit fuel demand sent oil prices lower.

The TSX Composite Index lost 46.96 points to open Thursday at 17,552.90

The Canadian dollar removed 0.04 cents to 76.06 cents U.S.

RBC raised the price target on AGF Management to $7.50 from $7.00.

CIBC raised the target price on First Quantum Minerals to $18.00 from $14.00. First Quantum lost 58 cents, or 4.6%, to $11.98. AGF added 10 cents, or 1.5%, to $6.90.

CIBC raised the rating on Hudbay Minerals to outperform from neutral

RBC raised the rating on Maple Leaf Foods to outperform from sector perform. Maple Leaf shares gained $1.10, or 4.4%, to $25.91.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada told us that in November, 451,000 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits, virtually unchanged from the previous month.

Increases in numbers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nova Scotia were offset by slight declines in other provinces.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange docked 0.41 points to 584.95

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher in the first hour, with gold shining 0.8% brighter, health-care ahead 0.5%, and consumer staples better by 0.4%.

The five laggards were weighed heavily by energy, sliding 1.9%, while industrials dipped 0.5%, and consumer discretionary stocks were 0.4% to the bad.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Thursday, taking a breather from their recent rally to record highs, as investors pored through the latest batch of corporate earnings results and grappled with fears of the coronavirus spreading.

The Dow Jones Industrials forfeited 98.83 points to start the day at 29,087.44

The S&P 500 dropped 9.22 points at 3,312.53

The NASDAQ was lower by 10.26 points to 9,373.50

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase all fell more than 1% to lead the market lower.

Comcast and Travelers both reported better-than-expected quarterly figures. However, Comcast dipped 2.5% while Travelers slid 3.8%.

More than 12% of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings. Of those companies, about 70% have beaten analyst expectations.
On the data front, stateside weekly jobless claims rose less than expected to 211,000 from 205,000 the week before.

Sentiment was kept in check as the spread of the China coronavirus has placed renewed downward pressure on global equity markets, with the death toll rising to 17 and the World Health Organization set to reconvene Thursday to decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

On Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases of the new strain of coronavirus, which originated in China’s Wuhan city and has now been detected throughout Asia and as far away as the U.S., reached 571. Singapore also confirmed its first coronavirus case earlier in the day.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 1.73% from Wednesday’s 1.77%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.79 to $54.95 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained four dollars to $1,560.70 U.S. an ounce.