Update: TSX Posts Modest 31-Point Loss, Declines Nearly 4% for Week; Dow Jones Swings More Than 1,000 Points Friday
Canada's main stock market ended Friday in negative territory, but was off the day's lows in yet another volatile trading session. The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 33 points or 0.2% to close at 15,034. The TSX tumbled to a session low 14,787 before finding some interest on the way to 15,000. The TSX was down nearly 4% for the week after losing a similar amount last week. It was another rollercoaster session south of the border, as U.S. markets closed about 1.4% higher, with the Dow Jones swinging over 1,000 points for the day. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all declined more than 5% for the week.
Once again, it was a broad-based decline on the TSX, with healthcare, utilities and tech the only sectors in the green. Materials led decliners, falling 1% as gold and silver lost ground. Energy was also negative, but just barely, even as oil plunged 3% to below $60 per barrel. Financials were also mildly weaker.
In stock news, Aecon Group (ARE.TO) lost 2% this week but pushed back Friday against criticism of the sale of the company to a subsidiary of state-owned China Communications Construction. Aecon CEO John Beck said in a release that the company is fully supportive of the federal review of the proposed sale through the Investment Canada Act, but is concerned about "false and misleading" claims being made about the deal. Cameco (CCO.TO) lost 4% after reporting narrower losses in its latest quarter. Heavily traded Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) was up 2% while Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) was down 4%. TD Bank (TD.TO), one of the day's most influential shares, lost 0.4%.
In economic news, employment plunged 88k in January after the 64.8k gain in December. The decline was contrary to expectations (median +10k), but is not a shock given the elevated risk for a pull-back following the sizable gains in November and December. The drop was the largest one month decline since 2009. The unemployment rate rose to 5.9% in January from 5.8%. Yet full time employment grew 49k. The driver of the job losses was part time jobs, which fell 137k after a 41.6k increase in December. Wage growth accelerated to 3.3%, driven by a minimum wage boost in Ontario, leaving the fastest pace of wage growth since 2015. Overall, while the pullback in jobs comes with some key caveats (part-time plunge, strong growth in Nov. and Dec.), it remains supportive of a gradualist pace for rate hikes from the Bank of Canada this year.
The Canadian dollar gained about a tenth of a cent to 79.44 US.