Stocks Closer to Breakeven by Noon
BMO in Spotlight
Stock markets in Canada extended losses on Friday, dragged down by banks, after data reflecting a resilient labour market refueled investor concerns on whether the Bank of Canada would keep its monetary tightening campaign suspended.
The TSX came off its lows of the morning, but still trailed breakeven by 42.83 points to move into noon hour EST at 20,043.89 (Note: Daylight Saving Time kicks in Saturday night across much of Canada).
The Canadian dollar grew 0.30 cents to 72.58 cents U.S.
Among company news, Bank of Montreal shed 1.2% after it said it would acquire Loyalty Ventures' subsidiary's rewards program AIR MILES for an undisclosed amount. Loyalty Ventures fell 54.2% in U.S. trading. Shares in“The First Canadian Bank” lost $1.98, or 1.6%, to $123.44.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada says employment held steady in February at 22,000, a gain of a slight 0.1%, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%.
The TSX Venture Exchange reversed ground and moved higher 0.4 points to 618.144.
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups remained negative by lunch hour, with real-estate and health-care each down 1.3%, and financials off 1.1%.
The five gainers were led by gold, brighter by 2.8%, materials, strengthening 1.4%, and energy, up 0.9%.
Stocks seesawed Friday, gyrating between gains and losses, as the shutdown of Silicon Valley Bank pressured the broader banking sector.
The Dow Jones Industrials remained in the red 109.14 points to break for lunch Friday at 32,145.72.
The S&P 500 skidded 18.9 points to 3,899.42.
The NASDAQ Composite fell 63.79 points to 11,274.56.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said Friday that Silicon Valley Bank was closed by regulators after taking control of the bank's deposits. The shutdown comes after shares tumbled Thursday after announcing plans to raise more than $2 billion in capital in a bid to offset losses from bond sales.
Regional bank stocks tumbled in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank's demise, with the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF last down about 4%.
Several bank stocks were repeatedly halted on Friday, including First Republic, PacWest and crypto-focused Signature Bank. Shares last traded down between 12% and 22%.
Some bellwether bank stocks held onto gains despite the turmoil among regional names. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were last up more than 2% and 1%, respectively. Goldman Sachs dipped 2%.
Wall Street is coming off a sharp downturn, with the Dow losing more than 500 points Thursday. For the week, the Dow is down 3.4%, on pace for its worst week since September 2022, while the S&P 500 is off 3.2%
Traders also digested the February jobs report, which gave some hints that inflation could be slowing. Payrolls increased 311,000 jobs last month, more than expected, but investors focused on the smaller-than-expected gain in wages, which could cause the Federal Reserve to rethink more aggressive on rate hikes.
Prices for the 10-year Treasury popped, lowering yields 3.75% from Thursday's 3.92%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices acquired 54 cents to $76.26 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices hiked $25.40 to $1,860.00 U.S. an ounce.
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