TSX Tumbles to Begin Short Week

Equities in Canada’s largest centre moved downward from where they’d finished Christmas Eve, amid the bruising sustained by health-care plays.

The TSX finished Tuesday down 80.45 points to 17,543.43.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.18 cents to 78.03 cents U.S.

The index trades only three days this week, with trading shut down on Friday for New Year’s Day.

Utilities provided a ray of sunshine amid the gloom, as Transalta Renewables gained $1.21, or 5.8%, to $21.96, while Algonquin Power surged 44, or 2.1%, to $21.25.

Among consumer discretionary interests, Magna International added $1.73, or 1.9%, to $92.29, while Aritzia picked up 40 cents, or 1.6%, to $26.06.

In the financial sector, EFN Financial took on 16 cents, or 1.2%, to $13.53, while TMX Group jumped $1.70, or 1.3%, to $129.33.

Pot producer Aphria fell 44 cents, or 4.8%, to $8.72, rival Aurora Cannabis dived 66 cents, or 5.8%, to $10.69.

Among tech issues, Sierra Wireless docked $1.17, or 6.2%, to $17.78, while Shopify slid $72.79, or 4.6%, to $1,495.10.

Gold stocks took their lumps, too, as Alamos Gold fell 19 cents, or 1.7%, to $11.09, while NovaGold gave back 35 cents, or 2.7%, to $12.48.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange jumped 13.21 points, or 1.6%, to 858.99.

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided, with utilities, consumer discretionaries and financials each up 0.4%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by health-care, ailing 3.1%, information technology, down 1.4%, and gold, off 1.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks slipped on Tuesday after reaching fresh all-time highs as traders weighed the possibility of even more fiscal stimulus being approved by Congress.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 55.03 points at 30,348.94

The S&P 500 retreated 8.32 points to 3,727.04. Tuesday’s decline snapped a three-day winning streak for both the Dow and S&P 500.

The NASDAQ slid 49.2 points to 12,850.22.

Boeing rose 0.8% as its beleaguered 737 Max jet flew once again in the U.S. Health-care was the best-performing S&P 500 sector, advancing 0.7%.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an attempt by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to fast-track a bill that would increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000 from $600. That bill was passed by the House passed a bill late Monday.

President Donald Trump had previously called for a $2,000 direct payment to Americans. On Tuesday, he tweeted: “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP.”

Senate Republicans have opposed larger direct payments despite Trump’s demands. However, several GOP senators have expressed support for the $2,000 checks.

Apple and Home Depot fell more than 1% each to lead the Dow lower. Intel offset some of those losses, rising 4.9% after Third Point’s Dan Loeb urged the company to explore its deal options.

Despite Tuesday’s slight pullback, stocks are heading into year-end with surprisingly strong gains. The S&P 500 is up 15.4% in 2020, and the Dow has risen 6.3%. The NASDAQ, meanwhile, has surged 43.2% year to date as investors flocked into major tech names such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

The number of coronavirus cases keeps rising in the U.S., however, casting doubt over the economic recovery heading into the New Year. Over the past week, at least 184,000 new infections have been reported in the U.S. per day, according to an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury sank, raising yields to 0.94% from Monday’s 0.93%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices collected 36 cents to $47.98 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $2.40 to $1,882.80