Energy sector ravaged as TSX plunges 10.3 per cent amid global oil price war – by Geoff Zochodne (National Post – March 10, 2020)

The loss of more than 1,660 points is the biggest single-day decline since 1987

Canadian stocks took a historic hammering Monday after global crude prices collapsed and the spread of the new coronavirus continued to threaten the global economy.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost about 10.3 per cent of its value, or more than 1,660 points, in what was the biggest single-day decline since 1987. Canada’s main stock index finished Monday at 14,514.24, a 14-month low.

The suddenness with which stocks fell to start the trading day even triggered so-called circuit breakers, which briefly halted trading on the TSX. In the end, the only stock in the S&P/TSX index that finished Monday in the green was Dollarama Inc., the Montreal-based discount retailer.

Investors didn’t fare much better with stocks in the United States, where circuit breakers were also tripped soon after the opening bell sounded. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up shedding more than 2,000 points, or about 7.8 per cent, finishing the day at 23,851.02. The S&P 500, meanwhile, closed at 2,746.56, 7.6 per cent lower, after losing more than 225 points.

Monday’s equity meltdown appeared to be prompted by anxieties about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and by a swift swoon in oil prices. “It’s hard to find a bull case,” said Barry Schwartz, chief investment officer at Toronto-based Baskin Wealth Management. “It’s shocking, because two weeks ago it was impossible to find a bear case. We’ve just totally turned on a dime.”

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