Elevated anxieties push Canadian and U.S. stock markets to worst day in months – Toronto Star

A currency trader walks by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Asian shares were mixed on Friday after a hodge-podge of economic data led Wall Street to close mostly lower.

By Ross MarowitsThe Canadian Press

Mon., Sept. 20, 20213 min. read

Article was updated 26 mins ago

TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index suffered its biggest daily decline in nearly eight months while U.S. markets also tanked amid heightened anxieties about emerging Chinese risks, a global economic slowdown and impending Federal Reserve action.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 335.82 points to 20,154.54 after hitting an intraday low of 19,932.19.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 614.41 points at 33.970.47. The S&P 500 index was down 75.26 points at 4,357.73, while the Nasdaq composite was down 330.07 points at 14,713.90.

Investors are wary of an economic slowdown in China, with concerns Monday over the potential insolvency of Chinese property developers, particularly Evergrande, said Craig Fehr, investment strategist, Edward Jones.

The fear is that a potential collapse there could send a chain reaction through the Chinese property-development industry and spill over into the broader financial system, similar to how the failure of Lehman Brothers inflamed the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession.

“All of this is … coming at the same time that the Fed is looking to dial back some of the stimulus so that’s adding a little bit to the indigestion today,” he said in an interview.

Fehr said the market movement isn’t a sign of broader change in direction for the North American or global economies. Monday’s Canadian election and the U.S. debt ceiling debate likely also contributed to the short-term anxiety, although he said expectations are for the Trudeau Liberals to retain power with a minority government.

Markets have been a victim of their own success with equity markets surging over the past year, approaching a 20 per cent rise before the recent downturn, he said.

Periodic setbacks are normal even for the strongest equity markets and the market hasn’t seen the typical annual corrections in at least a year.

“I don’t think this is going to snowball into something significantly severe or prolonged. But I do think it’s a condition that we’ve been expecting for some time,” Fehr said.

Monday’s market losses evoke more emotion from investors who have been spoiled by the strong gains, but the decreases probably feel worse than they really are, he added.

“The first thing investors can do on a day like this is not take the bait. Put a different way, don’t panic.”

All 11 major sectors on the TSX were down on the day, led by health care, energy, industrials, financials and technology.

Health care dropped five per cent as cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. loss 7.5 per cent, followed by Aurora Cannabis Inc. down 7.3 per cent and Tilray Inc. off 6.8 per cent,

Energy lost 2.8 per cent on lower crude oil and natural gas prices with Enerplus Corp. and MEG Energy Corp. down 4.8 and 4.7 per cent, respectively.

The November crude contract was down US$1.68 at US$70.14 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was down 12 cents at US$4.99 per mmBTU.

A 23.6 per cent decrease in New Flyer Industries Inc. shares pushed Industrials down 1.8 per cent while Hut 8 Mining Corp. lost 12.3 per cent to drag technologies 1.5 per cent lower.

Lower copper prices pushed materials down even as gold was one of the few assets to gain ground.

The December gold contract was up US$12.40 at US$1,763.80 an ounce and the December copper contract was down 13.2 cents at US$4.11 a pound.

Fehr said it’s not unusual for cyclical investments such as energy, industrials and financials to be hardest hit on days like Monday, while the loonie is a cyclical currency that underperforms when the global growth outlook weakens and crude prices fall.

The Canadian dollar traded for 77.95 cents US compared with 78.61 on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2021.

— With files from The Associated Press.