Omicron Fears Menace Stocks3 min read
A wild week of big gains and bigger losses came to an end Friday with markets in Canada still on the downside looking up.
The S&P/TSX Composite came off its lows of the day, but still lost 128.76 points to end Friday at 20,633.27. The loss on the week was 607 points, or -2.86%
The Canadian dollar bowed 0.13 cents at 77.88 cents U.S.
Health-care issues hit the ground hardest, most notably, Organigram Holdings, swooning 16 cents, or 6.4%, to $2.34, while Tilray chucked 75 cents, or 6.2%, to $11.45.
In the tech area, HUT 8 Mining demurred $1.43, or 10.7%, to $11.94, while Lightspeed POS doffed $4.81, or 7.8%, to $56.85.
Industrials were also bruised, as Ballard Power Systems forked over $1.07, or 6%, to $16.87, while CAE Inc. docked $1.41, or 4.5%, to $29.75.
Communications also did what they could with Cogeco Communications springing to its feet 94 cents, or 1%, to $99.89, while BCE took on 14 cents, or $65.68.
On matters economic, Statistics Canada reported that the economy created 154,000 jobs in November, thus driving down the unemployment rate to 6%, or within 0.3 percentage points of what it was in February 2020.
The jobs numbers were 186,000, or 1.0%, higher than its pre-COVID February 2020 level.
The TSX Venture Exchange flopped 13.09 points, or 1.4%, to 897.13, for a drop on the week of nearly 53 points, or 5.57%.
All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were in the red, weighed by health-care, wilting 2.9%, information technology, skidding 2.8%, and and industrials, sliding 1.3%.
The two gainers were gold, up 1%, and communications, nicking ahead 0.03%.
Stocks dropped on Friday, after a disappointing November jobs report, as the market wrapped up a roller-coaster week driven by COVID Omicron variant concerns.
The Dow Jones Industrials came to within 59.71 points of breakeven to end the day at 34,580.08. The Dow was down as much as 300 points earlier in the session. It lost 275 points, or 0.8%, on the last five trading days.
The blue-chip index was dragged down by a 3% loss in Boeing.
The S&P 500 index lost 38.67 points to 4,538.43, shedding 72 points, or 1.57%, on the week.
The NASDAQ shed 295.85 points, or 1.9%, to 15,085.47, for a weekly walloping of nearly 1,100 points or 6.8%.
Stocks tied closely to the virus have led the market on its week-long seesaw, and that continued Friday. Companies that benefit from the economic expansion, such as hotels and airlines, led losers. Las Vegas Sands was off by 3.7% and Delta Air Lines fell 1.8%. Norwegian Cruise Line fell 4.5% and Carnival Corp. lost 3.9%.
Technology stock also dragged on the major averages on Friday as Tesla fell 6.4% and Zoom Video fell 4.1%. DocuSign cratered 42.2% after the company issued fourth-quarter sales guidance that was lower than what analysts expected.
Elsewhere in markets, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi announced during Asia trading hours on Friday that it will start delisting from the New York Stock Exchange and make plans to list in Hong Kong instead. Shares fell 22.2%.
Friday’s market moves continued a highly volatile streak for stocks as the market digests the new COVID variant omicron and what it means for investors. The omicron variant has now been detected in five U.S. states, with symptoms so far reported as mild.
November’s jobs report showed slower-than-expected job creation last month. Non-farm payrolls increased by just 210,000 for the month, well below the 573,000 jobs predicted by economists polled by Dow Jones.
However, the unemployment rate fell sharply to 4.2%, better than estimates of 4.5%.
Prices for 10-year Treasurys jumped sharply, lowering yields to 1.36% from Thursday’s 1.44%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices ducked into negative territory 22 cents to $66.28 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices advanced $21.40 to $1,784.10 U.S. an ounce.