Stocks Achieve Noon in Minus column

Maple Leaf, Ballard in Focus


Canada's main stock index dropped on Thursday, as energy stocks tracked a fall in oil prices on fears of the coronavirus outbreak in China hitting fuel demand.

The TSX Composite Index lost 51.56 points to greet noon Thursday at 17,548.30

The Canadian dollar removed 0.07 cents to 76.03 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Maple Leaf Foods, which jumped 81 cents, or 3.3%, to $25.62, after RBC upgraded the processed food company's shares to "outperform", and Alamos Gold, which rose 28 cents, or 3.6%, to $8.07

Ballard Power Systems fell $1.56, or 11.9%, the most on the TSX, to $11.57. The second-biggest decliner was Alacer Gold, down 34 cents, or 5%, to $6.44, after it provided its 2020 forecast.

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 0.45 points to 584.91

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided, as gold and health-care each gained 0.9%, while consumer staples hiked 0.5%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most prominently by energy, sagging 2.3%, while financials and industrials sank 0.4%,

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 dumped 174.54 points to 29,011.43

The S&P 500 dropped 12.98 points at 3,308.85

The NASDAQ was lower by 17.17 points to 9,366.68

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase all fell more than 0.9% to lead the market lower. Bank stocks followed the 10-year Treasury yield lower (see below).

Comcast and Travelers both reported better-than-expected quarterly figures. However, Comcast dipped 2.9% while Travelers slid 5%.
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 1.72% from Wednesday’s 1.77%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.24 to $55.50 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices advanced $7.20 to $1,563.90 U.S. an ounce.