Equities Staggered to End Week, Month

Stocks stumbled to a negative finish in Toronto, their worst finish since late October, weighed mostly by losses in tech stocks. The S&P/TSX Composite Index stumbled 320.18 points, or 1.8%, to finish Friday and the week at 17,337.02, a decline on the week of 509 points, or 2.85%. The Canadian […]

Stocks stumbled to a negative finish in Toronto, their worst finish since late October, weighed mostly by losses in tech stocks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index stumbled 320.18 points, or 1.8%, to finish Friday and the week at 17,337.02, a decline on the week of 509 points, or 2.85%.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.29 cents to 78.21 cents U.S.

Tech firms were worst off, with BlackBerry fading 73 cents, or 3.9%, to $18.07, while Sierra Wireless lost 95 cents, or 3.9%, to $23.64.

In consumer discretionary stocks, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers surrendered $2.31, or 3%, to $75.34, while Sleep Country Canada dozed off $1.07,, or 3.9%, to $26.32.

In the industrial sector, Westshore Terminals Investment Corporation let go of $1.09, or 6.4%, to $15.99, while Air Canada was grounded 99 cents, or 4.7%, to $20.04.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported the economy was on an upward track as 2020 neared an end, with Gross Domestic Product growing 0.7% in November. In all, some 14 of 20 industrial sectors were up in the month.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange handed back 1.87 points to 932.73 for a drop on the week of 25.4 points, or 2.68%.

All 12 TSX subgroups lost ground, with information technology down 2.3%, consumer discretionary sliding 2.2%, and industrials off 1.9%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell sharply on Friday, wrapping up a roller-coaster week on Wall Street, as heightened speculative trading by retail investors continued to unnerve the market.

The Dow Jones Industrials cratered 620.74 points, or 2%, to conclude business Friday at 29,982.62, a weekly fall of 1,014 points, or 3.27%.

It’s the first time the 30-stock gauge has closed below the 30,000 mark since Dec. 14.

The S&P 500 let go of 73.14 points, or 1.9%, to 3,714.24, as 10 sectors registered losses. The larger index endured a descent of 127 points, or 3.31% on the week.

The NASDAQ crumbled 286.46 points, or 2%, to 13,070.70, for a loss of 472 points, or 3.49% over the last five sessions. Apple dropped 3.7% and other major tech names slipped.

For January, the blue-chip Dow dropped 2%, and the S&P 500 fell 1.1%, suffering their first negative month in four. The tech-heavy NASDAQ eked out a 1.4% gain on the month.

Shares of GameStop jumped 67.9% after Robinhood said it would allow limited buying of the stock and other heavily shorted names after restricting access the day before.

Robinhood raised more than $1 billion from its existing investors overnight, in addition to tapping bank credit lines, to ensure it had the capital required to allow some trading again in volatile stocks like GameStop.

Investors are concerned that if GameStop continues to rise in such a volatile fashion, it may ripple through the financial markets, causing losses at brokers like Robinhood and forcing hedge funds who bet against the stock to sell other securities to raise cash.

There are also fears that the GameStop mania is a sign of a larger bubble in the market and that its unraveling could also cause turbulence and hit retail investors hard.

Meanwhile, new trial results from Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine disappointed some investors, weighing on the broader market.

JNJ said its one-dose vaccine demonstrated 66% effectiveness overall in protecting against Covid-19. The vaccine was 72% effective in the United States, 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa after four weeks, the company said. The vaccine however offered complete protection against COVID-related hospitalizations. Shares of JNJ dropped 3.6%.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys dropped, raising yields to 1.08% from Thursday’s 1.05%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 15 cents to $52.19 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices recovered $4.60 to $1,842.50 U.S. an ounce.

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