Markets sharply sold off Friday to end a week which saw several new highs. The tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 1.79% as all three major American indices closed the week lower during its weakest session so far this month to. It was the worst day since Jan. 31 for the S&P.
The lasting impact of the coronavirus finally hit investors, with reports of containment inside China but expansion beyond the Middle Kingdom. Big tech stocks were hit the hardest: Microsoft sank 3%, Amazon down 2.62% and Apple shedding 2.42%. Semis, like AMD, plunged nearly 7%.
The sell-off was less severe in Canada with the TSX declining 0.56%. Tech, industrials and energy were the hardest hit as materials outshone all other sectors. The risk-off sentiment meant that money flowed into defensives, particularly renewable utilities like Ballard Power, jumping 2.36% Friday. Another big gainer was Royal Bank, the first of the big Canadian banks to report this month. Royal’s latest report beat the street with its Capital Markets unit boasting record revenues in the first fiscal quarter. Fees from investment banking soared 82% YOY, while fixed-income trading more than doubled. Investors rewarded RY-T with a 1.11% gain to push the stock near 52-week highs.