Stocks Remain Negative as Virus Suspense Fades

Ballard, REAL in Vogue

Equities in Canada’s largest market were challenged to make it to the breakeven point, even as health officials were reassuring investors the coronavirus epidemic in China does not constitute a world health crisis.

The TSX Composite Index dropped 40.49 points to greet Friday noon EST at 17,581.29

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.11 cents to 76.05 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Ballard Power Systems which rose $1.11, or 9.5%, to $12.83, and Real Matters, which took on 51 cents, or 4%, to $13.26.

MEG Energy fell 28 cents, or 3.9%, the most on the TSX, to $6.84. The second-biggest decliner was Aphria, down 45 cents, or 5.9%, to $7.13.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada says retail sales in Canada rose 0.9% to $51.5 billion, largely offsetting the 1.1% decline in October.

The increase was primarily attributable to higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and food and beverage stores, both of which were down in October.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange regained 1.49 points to 583.87

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups had fallen into the minus region, with energy and health-care each fading 1.9%, and financial, off 0.4%.

The five gainers were led by gold, soaring 1.4%, information technology, better by 0.5%, and materials, improving 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks turned negative on Friday, giving back their gains from earlier in the day after the second U.S. case of the deadly coronavirus was confirmed.

The Dow Jones Industrials staggered 80.15 points by midday to 29,079.94

The S&P 500 slumped 17.34 points at 3,307.96

The NASDAQ slouched 31.95 points from Thursday’s all-time high to 9,370.53.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a Chicago resident who traveled to Wuhan — the Chinese city where the coronavirus originated — in December was diagnosed with the sickness.

Shares of United Airlines and American both fell more than 3%. Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts also dropped more than 2% each. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America all traded more than 1% lower.

Stocks stared Friday’s session on a strong note after the release of better-than-expected earnings from American Express and Intel.

American Express reported a quarterly profit and revenue that beat analyst expectations. Those results were driven in part by strong card fee revenues. The stock gained more than 3%.

Intel, meanwhile, climbed more than 8% after its fourth-quarter numbers topped estimates. The company also gave an optimistic outlook for the first quarter of 2020.

Those results add to what has been a solid start to the earnings season. More than 16% of the S&P 500 has released quarterly results thus far. Of those companies, about 70% have reported better-than-expected earnings

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 1.69% from Thursday’s 1.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.39 to $54.20 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices advanced $6.70 to $1,572.10 U.S. an ounce.