Recession Fears Weigh on Stocks

Energy in Red

Canada's main stock index gave up early gains to trade lower on Friday, as fears of a deep recession fueled by the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed gains in energy stocks boosted by higher oil prices.

The TSX Composite Index dropped 243.2 points, or 1.9%, to greet noon Friday at 12,854.64.

The Canadian dollar inched back 0.08 cents to 70.76 cents U.S.

Canada faces "a critical week" in fighting the coronavirus, a senior official said, as the death toll surged to 161 from 105 on Wednesday, while positive cases rose to 11,131 from 9,017.

Crescent Point Energy surrendered big gains and had faded to breakeven at $1.27, while MEG Energy washed its hands of eight cents, or 3.8%, to $2.02.

Genworth MI Canada fell $2.98, or 10.3%, the most on the TSX, to $26.00, followed by Chemtrade Logistics, down 49 cents, or 10.3%,m to $4.25.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange stayed tenaciously up 0.17 points to 386.33.

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups remained negative by noon hour, with energy slumping 5.1%, financials down 2.9%, and industrials off 2.6%

The two stalwarts proved to be gold, up 1.8%, and materials, eking up 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Friday to end another volatile week of trading, pressured by a spike in coronavirus-related deaths in New York while investors digested a dismal U.S. jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrials sank 382 points, or 1.8%, to break for lunch at 21,031.44.

The broader S&P 500 wilted 43.62 points, or 1.7%, to 2,483.28

The NASDAQ Composite dropped 121.67 points, or 1.6%, to 7,365.64

The Dow was down 1% for the week entering Friday’s session while the S&P 500 had lost 0.6%. The NASDAQ was down 0.2%.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state had 2,935 deaths on Thursday, its biggest one-day spike yet. Cuomo added the curve of confirmed cases “continues to go up,” noting there are now over 100,000 cases in the state.’

There have been more than 245,000 confirmed infections in the United States and more than 6,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, more than one million cases have been confirmed.

Wall Street was still poised for its third weekly decline in four. The Dow was down 2.5% for the week while the S&P 500 had lost 1.9%. The NASDAQ was down 1.4% week to date.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 remain more than 25% below their respective all-time highs set in February as jitters over the spread of COVID-19 foster volatile trading on Wall Street.

U.S. payrolls fell by 701,000 in March, marking the worst jobs report since 2009, while the unemployment rate jumped to 4.4%. However, the report failed to capture the full extent of the economic blow being dealt by the coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department said jobless claims jumped by a record of 6.6 million for the week of March 27.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury progressed, weighing yields to 0.58% from Thursday’s 0.62%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained $1.65 to $26.97 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained seven dollars to $1,644.70 U.S. an ounce.