TSX down almost 2 per cent as oil drops below $30
The recent rally for oil prices has turned into another slump with US crude dropping more than 5 per cent to close the session below $30. Weak manufacturing data this week and the almost universal dismissal of any chance of Russia-OPEC talks to cut production is weighing heavily.
Of the ten main sectors on the S&P/TSX Composite Index nine were negative, led by energy and financials. Healthcare was the only main sector to gain.
Elsewhere, Asian markets closed mostly lower with only Shanghai ending positive. European indexes slumped around 2 per cent on oil prices and energy stocks.
Wall Street closed lower too; even the Nasdaq which had closed higher in the previous session but Alphabet stocks lost half of their early.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 232.1 (1.83 per cent)
The Dow Jones closed down 295.6 (1.80 per cent)
Oil is trending lower (Brent $32.67, WTI $29.92 at 4.10pm)
Gold is trending higher (1130.00 at 4.10pm)
The loonie is valued at U$0.7133
CEOs urged to reveal more about plans
The chief executive of asset management firm Blackrock Inc. has urged Canadian chief executives and those in the US and Latin America to reveal more about where their companies are headed. In his annual letter to CEOs Larry Fink called for more information about strategic plans and be more forward-looking than most currently are. He said that without that level of transparency it is often activist investors who provide the corporate narrative.
WestJet reports “deep” decline in Alberta travel
The oil downturn is forcing Alberta-based airline WestJet to cut prices in order to fill seats on its services to and from the province. On a conference call the airline’s CEO Gregg Saretsky said that it is seeing a “delayed effect” of the weakened energy sector. He said that the drop in passenger numbers has been sudden and deeper than it saw in 2008 during the recession.
Mortgage lender offers 1.69 per cent rate
Ontario credit union Meridian has fired an early shot in the mortgage rate wars before the spring buying season begins. The lender is offering a 1.69 per cent rate on a 1-year fixed rate deal. It says that it is announcing the deal now to allow pre-approval for buyers before they begin their home search.