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Jul 9, 2020

TSX & Dow erase weekly gains, Nasdaq posts new record close

BNN Bloomberg's closing bell update: July 9, 2020

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4:20 p.m. ET: TSX & Dow erase weekly gains, Nasdaq posts new record close

North American equity markets closed out Thursday’s trading day mixed as concerns over the resurgence of U.S. COVID-19 cases and the subsequent impact on economic reopening plans rippled through markets. The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 0.39 per cent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.56 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.39 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.53 per cent.

COVID-19 cases continue to surge in a number of states, including Florida and Arizona, raising concerns over a potential disruption to the economic reopening plans in the United States.

The declines on the TSX and Dow were enough to erase all of their gains for the week, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at a new record high.

Heavyweight tech titans like Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. helped lift the Nasdaq to that new record after the composite dipped into negative territory earlier in the trading session.

In Toronto, seven of the 11 TSX subgroups closed the day in negative territory, led lower by energy, health care and financials. Information technology, consumer staples and industrials were the largest percentage gainers.

Oil prices took a hit from those concerns over the spread of the virus and potential impact on demand for gasoline and other fuels, sending U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate 3.43 per cent lower to US$39.49 per barrel. Alberta’s Western Canadian Select fell 6.53 per cent to US$31.08 per barrel.

The Canadian dollar fell four-tenths of a cent against its U.S. counterpart to 73.59 cents U.S.

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11:45 a.m. ET: North American markets slump as U.S. virus case count rises

North American equity markets slumped through midday trading Thursday as more worrying signs of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States hammered sentiment around the prospects for economic reopenings. The S&P/TSX Composite Index and S&P 500 both fell 1.5 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.8 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index reversed earlier gains to post a 0.6 per cent decline.

While investors fled equities, money flowed toward traditional safe-haven assets, lifting the Japanese Yen, U.S. dollar and treasuries.

The slump comes after Arizona reported its largest increase in case count in six days and Florida reported new records in both daily deaths and hospitalizations. The jump in COVID-19 cases in the United States is casting a long shadow over the prospects for a swift reopening of regional economies.

In Toronto, nine of the 11 TSX subgroups traded lower, with health care, financials and materials posting the largest percentage declines. Only consumer staples and information technology traded in positive territory. The negative showing was broad-based, with 192 of the composite’s 221 constituents in negative territory

Those reopening concerns weighed on oil prices amid concerns an extension of stay-at-home recommendations would weigh on fuel demand. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell three per cent to US$39.67 per barrel, while Alberta’s Western Canadian Select dropped 6.44 per cent to US$31.11 per barrel.

The combination of U.S. dollar strength and oil weakness weighed on the Canadian dollar, which fell four-tenths of a cent against its American counterpart to 73.61 cents U.S.

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9:40 a.m. ET: North American markets mixed, Nasdaq extends gains

North American equity markets were mixed in early Thursday trading, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index and S&P 500 moving mostly sideways, the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.25 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index up 0.4 per cent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has outperformed its major peers so far this week, with the likes of Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. surging amid speculation the mounting COVID-19 case count in the United States will keep people at home for longer than initially expected.

Oil prices slipped amid concerns a slower reopening may curb fuel demand, sending U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate 0.9 per cent lower to US$40.52 per barrel. Alberta’s Western Canadian Select fell a modest 0.39 per cent to US$33.12 per barrel.

Gold held firm above the psychological US$1,800 level at US$1,821 per ounce as investors continued to seek out safety in the yellow metal. Gold prices have gained more than 20 per cent since mid-March.

The Canadian dollar was flat against its American counterpart to trade at 74.01 cents U.S.

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