Global equities slid on Thursday on concerns about the long-term impact of the new coronavirus and renewed U.S.-China tensions, though oil markets ignored those worries and marched to a 2-1/2 month highs.
Canada’s main stock index edged lower on Thursday, weighed by bleak monthly domestic jobs data .
The nation lost 226,700 jobs in April, ADP payroll data showed, as the lockdowns imposed to the curb the spread of the coronavirus impacted economic activities with trade, leisure and hospitality among the hardest hit industries.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was unofficially down 112.78 points, or 0.75%, at 14,884.85.
The energy sector slid 2%, while the financial and industrials sectors were both down 1%.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 2% as gold futures fell.
Wall Street ended lower on Thursday, a day after hitting two-month highs, on a fresh wave of China-U.S. tensions that raised doubts about the trade deal reached early this year between the world’s two largest economies.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 100.21 points, or 0.41%, to 24,475.69, the S&P 500 lost 23.1 points, or 0.78%, to 2,948.51, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 90.90 points, or 0.97%, to 9,284.88.
The majority of the 11 S&P sector indexes declined, with energy and technology each down more than 1%.
The U.S. dollar traded in a narrow range as investors weighed the impact of global business lockdowns and the euro’s four-day rally against the U.S. currency ran out of steam.
Gold fell more than 1% as a strong dollar pushed it off this week’s 7-1/2 year peak.
Rising tensions between Washington and Beijing gave investors pause.
President Donald Trump warned the United States would react “very strongly” against China trying to gain more control over Hong Kong through new national security legislation. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called China’s $2 billion pledge to fight the pandemic “paltry.”
“The biggest threat to the U.S. market this year is actually the potential for ignition of the tariff war, between the U.S. and China,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco in New York.
Stocks in the short run are driven by news flow, though bias is to the upside because of easy monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, Hooper said.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.69%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.75%.
Purchasing manager index surveys (PMIs) in Europe confirmed economic activity has begun to return, though they were far from stellar.
Euro zone-wide figures came in better than expected overall but Germany’s improvement undershot forecasts. It was the third month in a row that the surveys were plonked firmly in economic contraction territory.
Oil rose on the view that slumping fuel demand should rebound. Brent, the international benchmark, has bounced up $20 a barrel over the past month.
U.S. crude futures rose 43 cents to settle at $33.92 a barrel, while Brent settled up 31 cents at $36.06 a barrel.
The market absorbed the latest glut of government debt to pay for coronavirus support programs fairly smoothly. The United States on Wednesday auctioned $20 billion of 20-year debt, the first such sale since 1986.
Italy sold roughly the same on Thursday and Spain said it will need to raise almost 100 billion euros more than planned.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year notes fell 0.4 basis points to yield 0.6736%.
U.S. weekly jobless claims came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.4 million, in line with a Reuters survey of economists ahead of the data and well off the record 6.867 million at the end of March.
The dollar index rose 0.22%, with the euro down 0.23% to $1.0952. The Japanese yen weakened 0.13% versus the greenback at 107.68 per dollar.
U.S. gold futures settled 1.7% lower at $1,721.90 an ounce.
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First-quarter GDP worst showing since 2009: Statistics Canada – CityNews Toronto
Statistics Canada says the economy in the first quarter had its worst showing since 2009 as steps taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 forced businesses across the country to close their doors and lay off workers.
Statistics Canada says gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 8.2 per cent in the first three months of 2020.
The collapse came as gross domestic product for March fell 7.2 per cent as restrictions by public health officials began rolling out during the month, including school closures, border shutdowns and travel restrictions.
Events earlier in the quarter also had a drag on GDP with Statistics Canada pointing to the Ontario teachers’ strike and rail blockades in February, as well as a drop in oil prices.
Household spending was down 2.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the steepest quarterly drop ever recorded.
The average economist estimate had been for a nine per cent drop in gross domestic product for March, while the average estimate for the first quarter as a whole is for a GDP pullback at a annualized pace of 10 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum Gave Away Crude Oil For Free In April – OilPrice.com
If you were wondering how those negative crude oil prices in April played out in the physical market, now we know.
As the price of WTI fell below the $0 mark last month, Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., a seller of Shaikan crude oil produced in northern Iraq, gave its oil away last month for free according to Bloomberg, as the price of its oil pumped from the Shaikan field traded more than $21 under Brent prices.
Brent traded at an average of $21.04 for the month of April.
The recipient of the month’s worth of free crude was the Kurdish regional government. It’s unclear if they had to make up the 4-cent difference per barrel—but at any rate, that $43,000 price tag for more than a million barrels of oil is still quite the bargain.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum produces 36,000 barrels a day of the Shaikan crude, according to the company’s website. Gulf Keystone made the Shaikan 1 discovery in 2009, before selling domestically in November 2010.
GKP’s full-year after tax profit for 2019 was $43.5 million.
Oil managed to stay out of the red in May, with the price of a Brent crude barrel on Thursday reaching over $35 per barrel, as the supply outlook has improved with significant OPEC cuts, and oil demand has improved since April. Brent topped $65 at the beginning of the year.
But oil prices are not expected to make a drastic recovery overnight. Lingering lockdowns in the world’s largest demand center, the United States, is stymying any recovery on prices, even as OPEC, Russia, and the United States have managed to cut production by millions and millions of barrels per day.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.
TD and CIBC cap three days of dismal forecasts of economic impact of COVID-19 – The Globe and Mail
Two more major Canadian banks have reported quarterly profits declined by more than half as they stocked up reserves to absorb anticipated loan losses, capping three days of dismal forecasts from bankers about the extent of the economic damage the novel coronavirus could do.
Toronto-Dominion Bank set aside more than $3.2-billion in provisions to cover losses on loans that could go sour, an eye-catching sum that eclipsed large spikes in provisions at each of the other Big Six banks. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce set aside more than $1.4-billion as a reserve against its own potential losses on Thursday.
The need to rapidly build bulwarks against future losses was the driving force behind the steep plunge in earnings across the sector in the fiscal second-quarter – profits declined 52 per cent at TD and 71 per cent at CIBC. But in the midst of a global pandemic that prompted a wide-ranging economic shutdown, all six of the country’s big banks remained profitable, with capital levels securely intact and their quarterly dividends unaltered.
“I think that’s one reason the banks’ [stocks] are rallying, even though the results themselves in absolute terms are not good,” said Meny Grauman, an analyst at Cormark Securities Inc. “There’s a big relief that there was no bomb so far in the results.”
The provisions that banks booked were largely based on complex forecasts of possible future losses, calculated using the best assumptions they can cobble together at this stage. They provide a yardstick by which to measure the potential scale of economic carnage from COVID-19, taking stock of debt held by consumers as well as businesses of all sizes in an array of industries. But the pace of recovery is uncertain, and senior bankers warned that a return to precrisis profitability won’t be quick.
“It may take to , it may take to early  before you see a robustness back in the banking sector again, assuming that the health care crisis is behind us,” Victor Dodig, CIBC’s chief executive officer, said on a conference call with analysts.
For the three months that ended April 30, TD reported profit of $1.52-billion, or 80 cents per share, compared with $3.17-billion, or $1.70, a year ago. Adjusted for certain items, TD said it earned 85 cents per share, on an adjusted basis, matching analysts’ consensus estimate, according to Refinitiv.
In the same period, CIBC earned $392-million, or 83 cents per share, compared with $1.35-billion, or $2.95 a share, last year. On an adjusted basis, CIBC said it earned $0.94 per share, far shy of the $1.65 in adjusted earnings per share analysts expected.
The resilience of banks’ capital levels was an important theme in the second quarter, and each large Canadian bank emerged with billions of dollars in excess capital over and above the minimum threshold set by regulators. Yet TD had a sharper decline than expected in its common equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio – which measures a bank’s highest-quality capital relative to its assets, an important indication of a financial health – which fell to 11 per cent, from 11.7 per cent a year ago.
A range of factors contributed to the drop, including share buybacks before the crisis and changes in foreign exchange rates, but the bank also adjusted the levels of risk it assigns to various assets as customers drew heavily on credit lines when the shutdown began in mid-March. To be prudent, TD introduced a 2-per-cent discount on shares purchased through its dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), which is a tool to raise capital, after BMO made the same move in April.
By contrast, the CET1 ratio at CIBC didn’t budge, remaining at 11.3 per cent, partly as result of a routine adjustment of the bank’s models. As some loans deteriorate because of economic losses owing to the economy shutting down, however, CIBC expects some pressure on the ratio is possible in the current quarter.
After two days of surging prices for bank stocks, shares in TD and CIBC both gave back some ground on Thursday, falling 3.8 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Even as banks prepare for a surge in impaired loans, actual losses have been delayed in some cases by payment deferral programs the banks are offering and government relief measures. TD said it has deferred payments on $62-million in loans to consumers and businesses, a majority of which is made up of mortgages, while CIBC has granted payment deferrals on loans worth $51.6-billion to clients in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.
As those programs expire, banks expect most customers to resume payments. “I view the deferral programs to be ultimately risk-reducing,” said Ajai Bambawale, TD’s chief risk officer, because they give customers breathing room to bounce back from a temporary loss of income.
But TD has built reserves to cover some losses on deferred loans, “because in our view it is a matter of time before some become delinquent, others may become impaired as well,” he said.
Driving up loan-loss provisions played a major part in sapping profits in the banks’ core retail divisions. Customers also spent less money on cards and used spare cash to pay down debt. And rapid cuts to interest rates by the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve squeezed profit margins on loans.
At TD, retail banking profit fell 37 per cent to $1.17-billion in Canada, and plunged by 90 per cent in its U.S. retail arm, to $102-million, excluding profit from the bank’s share of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. And CIBC’s profit from Canadian personal and small business banking fell 64 per cent, to $203-million.
In banks’ capital markets divisions, robust levels of trading activity and record levels of debt underwriting were expected to help prop up banks’ profits. But in several cases, those benefits were eclipsed by rising provisions on corporate loans and losses on certain trading strategies in volatile equity markets.
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