TSX Takes Lumps at Midday

NovaGold, Algonquin in Focus

Canada's main stock index moved lower midday Thursday as worries over surging global coronavirus cases offset hopes of recovery stemming from a pickup in housing starts across the country.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index got bruised 189.37 points, or 1.2%, to greet noon at 15,439.82.

The Canadian dollar dumped 0.30 cents at 73.67 cents U.S.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Wednesday Canada's budget deficit is expected to hit $343.2 billion, the largest shortfall since the Second World War, due to record emergency aid spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

France's TGV high-speed train maker Alstom on Thursday offered to sell a French rail factory and make other concessions to win European Commission approval for its planned purchase of Bombardier’s transportation business.

Bombardier shares dipped 1.5 cents, or 3.5%, to 42 cents by noon EDT.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Ballard Power Systems, which jumped 53 cents, or 2%, to $27.64, and AltaGas, which rose 16 cents or 1%, to $15.51.

NovaGold Resources fell 79 cents, or 6.4%, the most on the TSX, to $11.61, after responding to law firm Hagens Berman's allegations of possible securities law violations.

The second biggest decliner was Algonquin Power & Utilities, down 56 cents, or 3.2%, to $16.96, on a $900-million share offering.

In the economic docket, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported seasonally-adjusted housing starts in this country amounted to 211,681 in June, compared with a revised 195,453 units in May.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange fell 3.56 points to 661.24.

All but one of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower, with health-care down 2.8%, while energy and real-estate slid 2% each.

Only consumer staples held out against the tide, gaining 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, giving back most of their weekly gains, amid renewed concerns over the coronavirus and its impact on the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrials stumbled 383.23 points, or 1.5%, to 25,684.05

The S&P 500 shed 31.14 points, or 1%, to 3,138.81

The tech-heavy NASDAQ backed off its all-time high, dropping 22.16 points to 10,470.34.

Since last week’s close, the S&P 500 gained 1.3%, the Dow improved 0.9% and NASDAQ strengthened 2.8%. The NASDAQ is up 29.7% over the last three months.

Walgreens was the biggest laggard in the Dow, dropping 9.7% on weaker-than-expected earnings for the previous quarter. Walgreens also suspended a share repurchase program. Apple shares traded flat, giving up an earlier gain.

Shares of companies that would benefit from the economy reopening struggled. United Airlines, Delta and American all fell more than 4%. Carnival Corp dropped 3.7% and Royal Caribbean slid 5.3%. Kohl’s declined by 5.8%.

Stocks hit their lows of the day after Florida reported a record in coronavirus-related hospitalizations. The state also reported a record spike in Covid deaths. They recovered slightly, however, after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases, said Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate will likely enter phase 3 of trials by the end of July.

More than three million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. alone, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, over 12 million cases have been confirmed.

The U.S. Labor Department said 1.314 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 1.39 million. Continuing claims fell by 698,000 to 18.06 million.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were up, dropping yields to 0.62% from Wednesday’s 0.66%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell 91 cents to $39.99 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices subtracted $14.50 to $1,806.10 U.S. an ounce.