TSX Stays Green

Health-care Haler, Staples Stale

Equities in Canada’s largest centre fell from their lofty heights of the morning, but still finished somewhat in the green, largely on the strength of health-care issues.

The TSX Composite Index held onto gains of 36.54 points to finish Tuesday at 17,777.11, though off its highs of the day.

The Canadian dollar regained 0.15 cents to 75.24 cents U.S.

Health-care stocks again led the parade, as Canopy Growth soared $1.15, or 4.5%, to $26.53, while rival Aphria jumped 19 cents, or 3.5%, to $5.64.

In the consumer discretionary field, Magna International popped $1.56, or 2.3%, to $69.24, while The Stars Group captured 68 cents, or 2.2%, to $31.57.

In resources, First Quantum Minerals hiked 41 cents, or 3.6%, to $11.72, while Teck Resources galloped 71 cents, or 4.1%, to $18.25.

Consumer staples took the biggest losses, as Alimentation Couche-Tard backpedaled $1.14, or 2.5%, to $44.80, while Jamieson Wellness faltered 63 cents, or 2.3%, to $27.32.

Gold stocks dulled from Monday’s glory, as Detour Gold sank 60 cents, or 2.5%, to $23.10, while NovaGold ducked eight cents to $11.90.

Tech stocks also had a rough time of it, with CGI Inc. off $1.29, or 1.3%, to $102.27, while Photon Control fell two cents, or 1.5%, to $1.31.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange improved 2.33 points to finish Tuesday at 573.12.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, with health-care leaping 1.3%, consumer discretionary stocks ahead 0.9%, while materials improved 0.7%.

The five laggards were weighed most by gold, with consumer staples slipping 0.7%, while gold and information technology faded 0.3% each.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite rose marginally on Tuesday — eking out fresh record closing highs — as investors digested testimony from the top U.S. central banking official and assessed the potential economic impact of the coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrials dipped 0.48 points to 29,276.34.

The S&P 500 inched up 5.66 points at 3,357.75.

The NASDAQ gained 10.55 points to 9,638.94.

China’s National Health Commission on Monday night said the death toll had risen to 1,016 people with 42,638 confirmed cases. However, data from Johns Hopkins University showed the number of new confirmed cases was its lowest since late January, increasing optimism around the country’s efforts to contain the outbreak.

Companies such as Under Armour have noted they will take a hit from the outbreak. Under Armour warned Tuesday the outbreak could lower sales by $50 million to $60 million.

Under Armour shares dropped more than 18% as lackluster quarterly results also pressured the apparel maker.

In other corporate news, a judge approved a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. Sprint shares soared more than 70% while T-Mobile advanced 10.8%.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified in front of the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank is "closely monitoring" the coronavirus situation for a potential hit to China and the global economy.

During the Q&A portion of his testimony, Powell noted it is “too early to say” how the coronavirus will ultimately impact the U.S. economy.

On the data front, job openings fell to a two-year low in December, reaching 6.4 million. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the biggest decreases in job openings came from transportation, utilities and educational services, among other sectors.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury fell, raising yields to 1.60% from Monday’s 1.56%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices picked up 47 cents to $50.04 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices dipped $7.80 to $1,571.70 U.S. an ounce.