Equities in Canada’s largest market fell on Wednesday as global sentiment soured on concerns over slowing economic growth and rising consumer prices, with data showing hotter-than-expected domestic inflation.
The S&P/TSX remained negative 269.65 points, or 1.3%, at lunch hour to 20,221.36.
The Canadian dollar shed 0.21 cents at 77.86 cents U.S.
Consumer discretionary stocks were roughed up the worst, with BRP Inc. falling $5.76, or 5.7%, to $95.72, while Dollarama slid $3.93, or 5.5%, to $67.18.
Gold stocks also took their share of heat, with New Gold down five cents, or 3%, to $1.63, and Sandstorm Gold off 23 cents, or 2.8%, to $7.91.
On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reports the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 6.8% on a year-over-year basis in April, up from a 6.7% gain in March. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI increased 0.7% in April.
Elsewhere, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told a U.S. Senate committee Tuesday Canada could add over a million barrels per day (bpd) of oil export capacity to the United States over the next two years. Kenney also called for a new cross-border oil pipeline.
The TSX Venture Exchange plunged 15.09 points, or 2.1%, to 697.40.
All but one of the 12 TSX subgroups had lost ground midday, with consumer discretionary stocks down 3.2%, gold skidding 2.2%, and consumer staples fading 1.9%.
The lone exception was utilities, up 0.2%.
U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday after another major retailer warned of rising cost pressures, confirming the fears over inflation that have sent major benchmarks to big losses this year.
The Dow Jones Industrials tumbled 731.49 points, or 2.2%, to move into the afternoon session at 31,923.10, its first loss in four days.
The S&P 500 weakened 106.48 points, or 2.6%, to 3,982.37
The NASDAQ Composite hesitated 360.10 points, or 3%, to 11,624.42.
Those losses come after a disappointing earnings report from Target. Shares tumbled more than 24% Wednesday after Target reported first-quarter earnings that were much lower than Wall Street estimated because of higher costs for fuel and compensation. The retailer also saw lower-than-expected sales for discretionary merchandise like TVs.
Target’s report comes right after Walmart on Tuesday posted earnings that fell short of expectations as it too cited higher fuel and labour costs. Walmart shares ended Tuesday lower by 11%. They were down another 6% on Wednesday.
Other retailers took a hit on the back of Target’s quarterly earnings miss. Best Buy’s stock price dropped more than 8%, Dollar General’s fell more than 11%, and Dollar Tree’s declined more than 17%. Shares of Macy’s dropped 9%, while shares of Kohl’s fell more than 10%.
Lowe’s shares fell more than 4% after missing sales expectations in its first quarter report as shoppers bought fewer supplies for outdoor projects.
TJ Maxx-parent TJX Companies bucked the overall negative trend, with shares surging 7% after the retailer reported an earnings beat.
Treasury prices gained ground, lowering yields to 2.92% from Tuesday’s 2.99%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices dropped $2.37 at $110.03 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices subtracted 90 cents to $1,818.00 U.S. an ounce.