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Canada’s main stock index touched its lowest in six months on Tuesday, tracking a slump in global markets on political worries and growth concerns and due to losses in energy stocks.

At 11:20 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 228.88 points, or 1.49 per cent, at 15,183.98. The index was looking at its biggest daily percentage drop since two weeks ago.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, under pressure to punish Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said it would be very hard to scrap an arms deal with Riyadh worth up to $13 billion as critics have demanded.

Global stocks slid towards their lowest level in a year as negative drivers from fatigued earnings and Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic isolation to a brewing spat over Italy’s finances piled on the pressure.

All of the index’s 11 major sectors were trading in the red, led by a 2.8-per-cent drop in the energy sector as oil futures declined.

U.S. crude fell 2.64 per cent to $67.53 per barrel and Brent was last at $77.91, down 2.41 per cent on the day.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, fell 0.9 per cent. Gold futures rose 1.4 per cent to $1,237.8 an ounce and palladium hit a record high as a risk-off sentiment boosted the demand for safe heaven assets.

The financials sector slipped 0.7 per cent. The industrials sector fell 2.6 per cent.

Marijuana producers led an 8.7-per-cent drop in the health care stock. Aurora Cannabis Inc. fell 16.7 per cent, while Aphria Inc. and Canopy Growth Corp. were down 8.9 per cent and 9.8 per cent, respectively.

Wall Street stocks followed Europe and Asia lower on Tuesday as investors fled for safety as they worried about U.S. earnings, Italy’s finances and U.S. trade tensions while pressure mounted on Saudi Arabia over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury prices rose, sending yields to their lowest levels in almost three weeks as tumbling equity markets worldwide fed investor demand for low-risk debt.

The dollar index fell slightly, and oil prices fell after Saudi Arabia said it could supply more crude quickly if needed, reassuring investors ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s crude exports that start next month.

Shares of U.S. industrial heavyweights 3M Co and Caterpillar Inc tumbled after 3M posted its biggest sales miss in 2 years and cut its forecast while Caterpillar disclosed weak order backlog and an increase in manufacturing costs.

“People are getting hysterical, taking these little dots and drawing universal trend lines,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors in Chicago, citing worries about a potential global slowdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 368.06 points, or 1.45 per cent, to 24,949.35, the S&P 500 lost 45.22 points, or 1.64 per cent, to 2,710.66 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 153.49 points, or 2.06 per cent, to 7,315.14.

“The stock market has everyone’s attention. The dollar/yen is moving almost tick-to-tick with stocks,” said David Gilmore, partner at FX Analytics in Essex, Connecticut.

“Markets are starting to wonder if the good times generated from Trump’s tax cuts and deregulation are in the rear view mirror and what’s ahead is fallout from protectionist policies, and that has started to eat into corporate earnings,” he added.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 1.6 per cent after hitting its lowest point since December 2016.

China’s main stock indexes resumed a downward spiral a day after the blue-chip index posted its biggest gain in nearly three years, hit by investor pessimism about economic prospects and risks posed by shares pledged for loans.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 2.05 per cent and hit its lowest point since Sept 2017.

Investors were anxious about the economic ramifications of Saudi Arabia’s isolation after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said intelligence and security institutions have evidence Khashoggi’s death at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul this month was planned. He dismissed attempts by Riyadh to blame the “savage” killing on rogue operatives.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that he was not satisfied with what he heard from Saudi Arabia about the death but did not want to lose investment from Riyadh.

“A quick Google search reveals hundreds of U.S. companies that could be impacted if this thing spins completely out of control,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York in a research note that pointed to defense companies being particularly vulnerable.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last rose 20/32 in price to yield 3.1185 per cent, from 3.194 percent late on Monday, while the 30-year bond last rose 37/32 in price to yield 3.3175 per cent, from 3.381 percent.

Spot gold added 0.9 per cent to $1,233.06 an ounce after hitting its highest level since mid-July as investors looked for safety.

The dollar index was flat, with the euro down 0.1 per cent to $1.1452.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.67 per cent versus the greenback at 112.09 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.2978, up 0.13 percent on the day.

Of the S&P 500’s 11 major sectors, energy was the biggest decliner as oil futures tumbled.

Emerging market stocks lost 2.56 per cent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 2.46 per cent lower, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 2.67 per cent.


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Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 24/05/24 4:00pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
3M Company
Canopy Growth Corp
Caterpillar Inc
Aurora Cannabis Inc

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