Markets plunge to 2018 lows with Dow posting record worst Christmas Eve session

Markets plunge to 2018 lows with Dow posting record worst Christmas Eve session

TORONTO — North American markets plunged to their lowest levels of the year as political uncertainties sent the Dow Jones industrial average to its worst ever Christmas Eve trading session and the price of crude oil dropped to its lowest level since the summer of 2016.

The market moved on ongoing concerns about a trade skirmish between China and the U.S. and political negativity coming from the United States, says Allan Small, senior investment adviser with HollisWealth.

That includes a partial U.S. government shutdown, tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump, rumours that he has asked about firing the Federal Reserve chairman and weekend calls by the Treasury secretary to the heads of the largest U.S. banks.

Just when markets open higher and appear to be ready to stage a rally, someone in the administration says something that hurts market sentiment, Small said in an interview.

“It just seems like there’s nothing positive happening,” he said, pointing to Trump’s tweets as predominately negative.

“I think a lot of his tweets unfortunately right now are causing more anxious moments than positive moments.”

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 155.25 points at 13,780.19 after hitting a low of 13,776.88 for the year in very light trading. The Toronto Stock Exchange closed at 1 p.m. and reopens Thursday after a two-day holiday.

The market fell less than U.S. exchanges as the influential materials sector rose 1.72 per cent as gold stocks like Goldcorp Inc., and Barrick Gold Corp. benefited from higher gold prices.

The February gold contract was up $13.70 at US$1,271.80 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 1.3 cents at US$2.66 a pound.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 73.59 cents US, the lowest level since May 2017, compared with average of 73.71 cents US on Friday.

The energy sector lost 3.2 per cent as share prices of large producers like Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corp. fell as crude prices slipped to a 17-month low.

The February crude contract was down US$3.06 at US$42.53 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was down 33 cents at $3.42 per mmBTU.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 653.17 points or 2.9 per cent to 21,792.20 for the seventh worst daily drop in 2018. The S&P 500 index was down 65.52 points at 2,351.10, while the Nasdaq composite was down 140.07 points at 6,192.92.

Small said markets are effectively acting like they’re in a bear market situation even though there’s no signs of a recession.

Some of the largest U.S. and Canadian banks are trading at big discounts from their highs of just a few months ago even though from an economic standpoint we’re “nowhere near Armageddon,” he said.

The Bank of Montreal is down 21 per cent from its 52-week high, the Royal Bank 17 per cent, J.P. Morgan 23 cent and Citigroup Inc. 39 per cent.

“We’re not talking about marijuana stocks here, we’re talking about your largest banks and financial institutions in North America,” Small said.

“I think that a year or two from now anyone who actually has the guts, the stomach to buy some of these really good quality names that are down by 20 to 30 per cent, I think there’s going to be better for it.”

Companies, index and currency in this story: (TSX:ENB, TSX:TRP, TSX:RY, TSX:BMO, TSX:ABX, TSX:G, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday, March 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau announces donation to Duke of Edinburgh’s award ahead of funeral

Canada will donate $200,000 to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as… Continue reading

Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science) Will Amos responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. The Liberal MP who inadvertently flashed his parliamentary colleagues says the fact that a screenshot of him in the nude was leaked to the media sends a troubling message about the corrosive state of politics in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
Canada’s naked MP speaks out: leaked photo sends message ‘anything goes’ in politics

OTTAWA — The Liberal MP who inadvertently flashed his parliamentary colleagues says… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $10 million jackpot… Continue reading

Opinion: Canada’s self-esteem needs Trump

Well, it was fun while it lasted. For four years, with Donald… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Shenanigans on the links

It must be something about my Scottish heritage but I seem to… Continue reading

Most Read