A man works in the TMX broadcast centre in Toronto, May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

S&P/TSX composite closes down on worries about COVID-19 lockdowns

S&P/TSX composite closes down on worries about COVID-19 lockdowns

TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index moved lower to start the week as COVID-19 lockdowns pushed the key sectors of financials, energy and materials down.

“The focus is on what’s really been the focus for the past several weeks, which is the incoming economic information that’s showing some of the renewed stress on the economy as lockdowns pick back up and cases surge,” said Craig Fehr, investment strategist at Edward Jones.

As inoculations began Monday in Canada and the U.S., the longer-term hopes are that the vaccine will bring more economic normalcy next year.

“Today represents for North America kind of a seminal date, in terms of the vaccines being shipped and the first doses being administered, which is fantastic news,” he said in an interview.

However, markets didn’t react since they rallied over the past few weeks in anticipation of the rollout.

Fehr expects markets will respond over time to disappointing news about the virus or economic data that will result in periodic bouts of market volatility.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 161.52 points at 17,387.40.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 184.82 points at 29,861.55. The S&P 500 index was down 15.97 points at 3,647.49, while the Nasdaq composite was up 62.17 points at 12,440.04.

In addition to the virus, early optimism was sparked Monday by a stimulus proposal in the U.S. that would carve out a bipartisan US$908-billion compromise.

About US$700 billion in one package would release funds for unemployment insurance and additional help for small businesses. A more controversial part that includes money for local and state governments would be relegated to a separate tranche.

“So while nothing is set in stone yet, what that says is that lawmakers are trying to get a bit more creative to get a deal done and I think the markets are waiting to see if that will bear some fruit,” Fehr said.

“But the bigger information that the markets are waiting on is certainly the incoming economic information in Canada and the U.S. and around the world showing just how much fatigue is exerted on the recovery as we go through this most recent wave of lockdowns.”

Energy led the TSX lower, falling 2.2 per cent despite higher crude oil prices.

The January crude contract was up 42 cents at US$46.99 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up 9.1 cents at US$2.68 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.39 cents US compared with 78.31 cents US on Friday.

Shares of Imperial Oil lost three per cent, while Suncor Energy Inc. was down 2.8 per cent and Cenovus Energy Inc. off 2.6 per cent.

While oil is up on expectations of increased demand as the economy improves, the sector was taking a breather after gaining almost 20 per cent in the past couple of months.

“Given just how strong of a rally we’ve seen over the past couple of months, it’s reasonable that we’re going to see markets take a breather periodically,” Fehr said.

The materials sector was down 1.8 per cent with Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. off five per cent and Kinross Gold Corp. 4.25 per cent lower.

The February gold contract was down US$11.50 at US$1,832.10 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 0.15 of a cent at nearly US$3.53 a pound.

Technology and consumer discretionary led the TSX with Constellation Software Inc. up 2.8 per cent and Magna International Inc. up 1.3 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:MG, TSX:CSU, TSX:KL, TSX:K, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:CVE, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

Business

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

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

A judge's bench is pictured at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton, Friday, June 28, 2019. A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

Katie Telford is seen on a television before appearing as a witness before the House of Commons Defence committee in Ottawa, Friday May 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau aide Katie Telford questions if she could’ve done more on military misconduct

Trudeau aide Katie Telford questions if she could’ve done more on military misconduct

Rona Ambrose is shown during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Thursday, May 18, 2017. New judges will have to commit to take training in sexual assault law, thanks to a new law that received royal assent last night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Judges’ sexual assault training bill receives royal assent after clearing the Senate

Judges’ sexual assault training bill receives royal assent after clearing the Senate

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Kenney is expected to announce this morning an arrangement allowing Alberta truckers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in neighbouring American states. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

Alberta’s Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, takes off his mask to speak during the province's latest COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Manitoba’s top doctor questioned in church challenge of COVID-19 restrictions

Manitoba’s top doctor questioned in church challenge of COVID-19 restrictions

People line up at a COVID-19 vaccination centre, Friday, April 23, 2021 in Deux-Montagnes, Que. Canada's two biggest provinces are continuing to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as they report lower hospitalization figures.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Manitoba, Nova Scotia cracking down amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Manitoba, Nova Scotia cracking down amid surge in COVID-19 cases

A man watches the financial numbers on the digital ticker tape at the TMX Group in Toronto's financial district on Friday, May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
TSX up for 10th week with gain as weak jobs reports support continued easy money

TSX up for 10th week with gain as weak jobs reports support continued easy money

Most Read