TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell sharply on Tuesday, tracking global equities, as volatility in bond markets and other worries rattled investors worldwide.
The heavily weighted energy sector slipped despite a 3 percent gain in the price of crude, itself mostly a function of a weaker U.S. dollar. [O/R]
Government bonds sold off again, with benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries yields US10YT=RR at their highest since mid-November, and German 10-year yields DE10YT=TWEB rising even more. [MKTS/GLOB]
The bond moves added to investor anxiety about Greece’s debt and to concerns over economic growth in China, which cut its interest rate for the third time in six months over the weekend.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and until we get through that period, we’re just going to have to suffer this,” said RKH Investments Chief Operating Officer Rick Hutcheon.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE gave up 109.49 points, or 0.72 percent, to end the day at 15,043.15. All 10 of the index’s main sectors were mired in negative territory.
Still, the index is only some 600 points off its highs of September last year, before a collapse in the price of crude pummeled energy stocks and dented Canada’s economic growth forecasts enough to prompt a Bank of Canada rate cut.
“It’s not as if we’re sinking down to all-time lows here,” said Gareth Watson, a vice-president for investment management and research at Richardson GMP. “This downturn hasn’t been a dramatic one. It’s not like we’re screaming bear market.”
Watson said investors are questioning whether to reduce exposure to U.S. equities and where else could prove attractive.
The country’s two main railways weighed the heaviest on the market, with Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO) off 2.3 percent at C$76.53 and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO) down 3.1 percent at C$219.44.
The overall industrials group was down 1.5 percent, while consumer discretionary and staples names slipped 1.1 percent apiece.
The financials group was off 0.6 percent, and materials was barely lower as some gold miners gained, while energy stocks slipped 0.3 percent. The three sectors combined make up about two-thirds of the index’s weight.
Hutcheon said the market was heading into the summer doldrums after a recent strong run.
“It’s going to be a long, grinding summer,” he said.
On the upside, Air Canada (AC.TO), which reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results, was up 3.8 percent at C$12.16.
Additional reporting by Solarina Ho. Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andre Grenon