Canada’s main stock index fell in thin trading on Friday, the last session of 2021, but was on course to mark its best year since 2009 thanks to massive stimulus, COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and hopes of global economic recovery.
The S&P/TSX Composite declined 71.8 points to finish Friday to 21,222.84. On a short week, the index fell 6.8 points, or 0.03%.
The year proved a different story, however, as the index gained nearly 3,800 points, or 21.7%.
The Canadian dollar climbed 0.58 cents to 79.04 cents U.S.
Health-care stocks took it on the chin, with Tilray down 31 cents, or 3.4%, to $8.94, while Well Health Technologies sank 17 cents, or 3.4%, to $4.90.
Among tech issues, Viq Solutions slumped 15 cents, or 4.8%, to $2.96, while Lightspeed POS slumbered $2.44, or 4.6%, to $51.20.
Financials also fell short of the mark, with Scotiabank dipped $1.61, or 1.8%, to $89.65, while Sprott Inc. gave back 77 cents, or 1.3%, to $56.88.
Energy stocks, on the other hand, moved upward, with Imperial Oil taking on 93 cents, or 2.1%, to $45.72, while Crescent Point Energy captured 13 cents, or 2%, to $6.78.
In utilities, Brookfield Renewable Partners hoisting 64 cents, or 1.4%, to $45.35, while Transalta gained 19 cents, or 1.4%, to $14.08.
In real-estate, H&R REIT units advanced 16 cents, or 1%, to $16.26, while Tricon Capital tacked on 21 cents to $19.37.
Ontario and Quebec announced fresh measures to combat COVID-19 on Thursday as the country faces a rise in cases that has forced tens of thousands into isolation, made tests difficult to access and burdened its health-care sector.
The TSX Venture Exchange gained 5.24 points to 939.18, which gave it a gain of 4.2 points, or 0.45%, for the week. For 2021, the index prospered 63.8 points, or 7.3%.
Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, with energy boosted 0.7%, while real-estate and utilities each ahead 0.3%.
The four laggards were weighed most by health-care and information technology, each down 1.7%, while financials dived 0.5%.
U.S. stocks finished their final trading session of the year lower, capping off a record-setting 2021 that came despite the persistent headwinds of COVID-19.
The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 59.78 points to 36,338.30.
The much-broader S&P 500 index slid 12.55 points to 4,766.18
The NASDAQ faded 96.59 points at 15,655.97.
A few top-performing names in the S&P 500 this year also led gainers in the index Friday. Ford Motor added 1.6%, bringing its year-to-date gain to around 137%. Signature Bank gained 1.3% to bring its 2021 run-up to roughly 139%.
The major averages are all up double-digits this year as the global economy began its recovery from the 2020 COVID lockdowns, while the Federal Reserve maintained supportive measures first implemented at the onset of the pandemic.
The S&P 500 is up 27.2% in 2021, putting the benchmark on pace for its third straight positive year. The Dow was 19.1%, and NASDAQ hurtled 21.8%, each achieving a three-year winning streak
Strong corporate earnings also boosted U.S. stocks. The estimated year-over-year earnings growth rate for 2021 is 45.1%, according to FactSet. That would mark the highest annual earnings growth rate for the index since FactSet began tracking the metric in 2008.
Energy and real estate have been the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500 this year, surging more than 40% each. Tech and financials are also up more than 30%. Home Depot and Microsoft have led the Dow gains, rising more than 50% each. Names like Alphabet, Apple, Meta Platforms and Tesla have led NASDAQ’s gains this year.
The gains come even as the COVID pandemic rages on, with variants like delta and, more recently, omicron leading to case outbreaks throughout the year. The U.S. has now recorded more than 53 million COVID cases and more than 820,000 deaths, according to CDC data as of Thursday.
Prices for 10-year Treasurys stayed the same, keeping yields at Thursday’s 1.51%.
Oil prices weakened $1.49 to $75.50 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices picked up $15.80 to $1,829.90 U.S. an ounce.