Markets sold off to end the week with the Nasdaq and S&P down nearly 1%, though the TSX shaved only 0.32%. One catalyst was the spread of the coronavirus during Chinese New Year, a peak time for travel within that country. By the Friday close, Chinese authorities had reported 26 deaths while a second case was announced in the U.S.
This stoke fears among investors that the disease could reduce economic activity in China. Another possible factor is the ongoing impeachment hearings of Donald Trump. Travel stocks, such as American Airlines (-4.03%) are getting hit, and crude oil plunged 2.5%, pressured by oversupply worries and virus fears. All major American indices closed at their lowest levels of the week; the TSX escaped that fate.
Friday wasn’t entirely gloomy, though. American Express beat earnings and jumped 2.85%. Materials was one of the few sectors of the TSX that gained. Fortuna Silver Mines (4.87%) and Teranga Gold (3.85%) leapt, as well as any stock that included the word “gold” or “silver.” Utilities also enjoyed a happy Friday with two of them closing at all-time highs: Northland Power up 1.24% to just below $30, and Boralex rallying 0.85% to $27.23.