The global energy rout has dragged the Toronto stock market back into a steep selloff, but that's nothing compared to the meltdown on the TSX Venture Exchange.
Investors sent the S&P/TSX Venture composite index to a new all-time closing low on Monday of 679.83, sinking below the previous record closing low of 684.31 set amid the market crisis six years ago. On an intraday basis, the Venture hit a low today of 678.64, just a sliver above the lowest point ever in its nearly 15 years of existence, of 678.62 recorded in December 2008.
The S&P/TSX Venture composite index closed down 3.1 per cent on a day when the S&P/TSX composite lost nearly 2.3 per cent. The Venture exchange has lost almost three-quarters of its value since 2011, and has dropped by 34 per cent in the last three months alone.
The small-cap exchange is dominated by junior mining and energy companies, making the index vulnerable to commodity weakness. Gold's peak in 2011 marked the outset of the Venture's long slide, while a global oil market in turmoil has amplified the losses over the past few months.
The crash of the Venture has been so thorough as to encompass resource and non-resource stocks alike, leaving few places to hide from the selloff.
When running a diversified small-cap portfolio, it's impossible to overcome the downtrend when the index is consistently posting 2-per-cent daily losses, Steve Palmer, chief investment officer at AlphaNorth Asset Management, said in a recent interview. "It's brutal. It's never been worse."