A sign board in Toronto shows the closing number for the TSX on Thursdsay October 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

U.S. stock markets in correction territory, TSX down on worrying signs out of Ukraine

U.S. stock markets in correction territory, TSX down on worrying signs out of Ukraine

TORONTO — North American stock markets faded midweek with all three U.S. markets moving into correction territory while crude oil prices continued to rise on mounting tensions in Ukraine.

Markets rose a little in morning trading but fell after Ukraine declared a state of emergency and Russia announced an evacuation of its embassy in Kyiv.

Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth, said markets have fallen steadily for about a week.

“Any time you’re seeing a pop in the morning, people are using that as a chance to take some profits and get out,” he said in an interview.

“It’s still the growth stocks that are getting hit the hardest, but outside of energy you’re really not seeing any sectors kind of staying positive or leading the way.”

Lowe’s posted strong results but early share gains evaporated.

“It indicates even good news is kind of shrugged off,” Currie said.

In Canada, Gildan Activewear shares climbed as much as 6.6 per cent but closed up 3.5 per cent following its quarterly report in which it boosted the quarterly dividend and targeted growth over the next three years.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 163.65 points to 20,744.17 for its fifth straight day of losses.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 464.85 points at 33,131.76. The S&P 500 index was down 79.26 points at 4,225.50, while the Nasdaq composite was down 344.03 points or 2.6 per cent at 13,037.49.

The Dow joined the S&P in correction territory with its shares dropping at least 10 per cent below its most recent high. The Nasdaq is on the cusp of moving into bear territory, a 20 per cent loss, with its shares off 19.6 per cent from its high.

Currie doesn’t expect a reprieve from the sour sentiment until interest rates rise or the situation in Ukraine gets wrapped up.

The TSX sustained a broad-based decline with nine of the 11 major sectors down, led by health care, technology, industrials and financials.

“Four pretty diverse groups all down well over one per cent (today), so it’s no longer just the tech names or companies. It’s getting pretty broad-based,” Currie said.

Health care was down 2.3 per cent while technology was close behind as Hut 8 Mining Corp. and Lightspeed Commerce Inc. fell 5.4 and 4.9 per cent, respectively.

Industrials lost 2.0 per cent as Bombardier Inc. fell 3.7 per cent, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. was down 2.6 per cent, Canadian National Railway Co. was 2.4 per cent lower and Air Canada decreased 2.1 per cent.

The heavyweight financials sector was down 1.3 ahead of Thursday’s start of first-quarter results from Canada’s largest banks. Royal Bank kicks off the season with investors looking for commentary on inflation, interest rate hikes and market volatility.

“There’s good expectations but they’re not expecting what we saw last quarter with all the dividend hikes,” said Currie.

Materials and energy were up on the day as the price of crude oil and gold continued to be pushed higher by the threat of a full-scale Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Investors worry that pipelines will be shut down and energy supplies to Europe from Russia will be disrupted. At the same time, Iran nuclear talks are proceeding which might actually add some supply of oil to world markets, Currie added.

The April gold contract was up US$3 at US$1,910.40 an ounce and the March copper contract was down three 2.7 cents at US$4.48 a pound.

The April crude contract was up 19 cents at US$92.10 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was up 13.2 cents at US$4.59 per mmBTU.

Shares of Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd. increased 9.1 per cent while Vermilion Energy Inc. was 2.7 per cent higher.

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.63 cents US compared with 78.47 cents US on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2022.


Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press