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AFTER THE BELL: TSX flat as investors shed pot stocks, U.S. markets in red as global economy fears rise to surface

A massive sell-off of pot stocks weighted Canada’s stock exchange today.

The TSX was off by 22 points, with six of 11 sectors trading lower. Among those in the red was the cannabis-dominated health care sector, which dropped 2.6 percent.

Cannabis companies went for a tumble, led lower by a 9.4 percent drop in Cronos Group shares after the company’s stock was on the receiving end of downgrades by analysts, amplified by lackluster quarterly earnings results.

Cronos had company among its pot-producing peers. Shares in Aurora Cannabis, the Green Organic Dutchman, and Hexo Corporation all fell between 3.2 and 5.9 percent, and were among the TSX’s six most actively traded companies.

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Meanwhile, Canadian energy companies were pressured by a slip in oil prices, as crude slipped 55 cents to $59.39 US a barrel.

A surprise build in U.S. crude stockpiles pushed oil prices down.

Elsewhere, StatsCan is reporting today that Canada’s exports were up 2.9 percent in January, mainly on the back of higher crude oil export prices, while imports rose 1.5 percent, led by higher aircraft imports.

As a result, Canada’s merchandise global trade deficit shrunk from $4.8 billion in December to $4.2 billion in January.

Even so, Canada has posted its worst back-to-back trade deficit on record.

In New York, the Dow pared gains but still lost 32 points at the close while the Nasdaq was off by 48 points, as concerns over sputtering global growth once again bubbled to the surface.

Declines in the industrials, energy and tech sectors also pressured U.S. markets.

Industrial bellwether Boeing is once again facing scrutiny after one of its 737 Max 8 jets was forced to make an emergency landing in Florida due to engine problems.

Even with the latest issue, Boeing’s stock managed to rise one percent.

Gold fell $6.00 to $1,309 an ounce while the loonie weakened by 11/100ths of a cent to $0.7459 US.

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