Equities in this country fell to a one-month low on Tuesday over worries that existing vaccines may not hold up against the COVID-19 Omicron variant. A decline in crude prices dragging heavyweight oil stocks was likely the main culprit.
The S&P/TSX Composite stumbled 293.41 points, or 1.4%, to greet noon EST Tuesday at 20.855.59.
The Canadian dollar was down 0.39 cents at 78.12 cents U.S.
Enbridge lost 65 cents, or 1.3%, to $48.09 as analysts said a Canadian regulator’s rejection last week of the energy company’s plan to sell space long-term on the country’s biggest oil pipeline could hit its bottom line.
The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Osisko Mining, up 13 cents, or 4.4%, to $3.06, and MAG Silver, better by 51 cents, or 2.5%, to $21.32, followed by New Gold, ahead two cents, or 1.1%, to $1.83.
Ottawa Public Health said late on Monday that two more cases of Omicron were detected in the nation’s capital, bringing Canada’s total number of cases to five.
The Bank of Canada will work with indigenous groups to understand the wounds caused by decades of discrimination and determine how reconciliation can create a more inclusive and prosperous economy for all, Governor Tiff Macklem said on Monday.
Government officials in British Columbia on Monday extended restrictions on the use of fuel by residents, saying it was needed for emergency vehicles as the region recovers from devastating floods.
On the economic slate, Statistics Canada said gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in September as growth in services-producing industries more than offset a decline in goods-producing industries.
The TSX Venture Exchange fumbled 11.38 points, or 1.2%, to 942.88.
All but one of 12 TSX subgroups pointed downward by lunch time, with health-care waning 2.7%, real-estate off 2.2%, and energy fading 1.9%.
Gold proved the exception, up 0.8%.
Stocks tumbled on Tuesday, reversing Monday’s rebound on Wall Street, as investors reassessed risks associated with the new omicron COVID variant.
The Dow Jones Industrials cratered 615.67 points, or 1.8%, to pause and regroup at noon hour at 34,520.27. The blue-chip suffered from losses in American Express and Coca-Cola.
The S&P 500 index docked 85.4 points, or 1.8%, to 4,569.87,
The NASDAQ dropped 302.74 points, or 1.9%, to 15,480.09.
Major averages dropped to their session lows after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank will discuss speeding up bond-buying taper at its December meeting.
In an appearance before a Senate committee, the Fed chief said he thinks reducing the pace of monthly bond buys can move quicker than the $15-billion-a-month schedule announced earlier this month.
Powell’s comments suggest that the Fed’s focus has now changed to fighting inflation and its negative impacts, rather than any more potential disruptions in economic activity from new variants of COVID.
Tuesday’s reversal came after Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the Financial Times that he expects existing vaccines to be less effective against the new variant. The CEO told the paper there could be a “material drop” in the current vaccines’ effectiveness against this variant. Bancel told reporters on Monday that it could take months to develop and ship an omicron-specific vaccine. Moderna was down nearly 4%.
Separately, Regeneron said its antibody treatment may have reduced effectiveness against omicron.
Travel shares, which led Friday’s drop and then gained on Monday, were taking hits once again on Tuesday. Expedia Group fell 2%, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings tumbled 2% and American Airlines shares were off by 2.5%.
Bucking the broader market’s trend were some tech stocks. Stay-at-home stock Netflix rose 1.4%, Apple rallied 1% and Tesla gained 1.5%.
Tuesday marks the final trading day of November, which proved to be a confusing month for investors. The Dow is down about 2.7% in November. The S&P 500 is up 0.5% this month and the NASDAQ has rallied 1.7% in November.
Prices for 10-year Treasurys gained sharply, lowering yields to 1.45% from Monday’s 1.53%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices plunged $3.62 to $66.33 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices dipped $9.60 to $1,775.60 U.S. an ounce.