Roundup: Canadian stock market slides as medical shares weigh

By on October 16, 2015

(ShutterStock image)
(ShutterStock image)

TORONTO – Canada’s main stock market in Toronto fell to negative territory on Thursday as medical shares weighed on the trading sentiment after a giant Canadian drug maker was subpoenaed by US prosecutors.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index lowered 46.36 points, or 0.33 percent, to settle at 13,828.97 points.

The index was dragged down in the midday trading after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., the biggest health care company by market value in Canada, said in a statement released Wednesday night that the company recently received subpoenas from US lawmakers investigating its patient assistance programs, drug distribution and pricing decisions.

On the closing bell, the medical sector plunged 1.61 percent, leading the fall with Valeant diving 5.39 percent to 216.73 Canadian dollars (about USD168.70) per share.

Meanwhile, the index was also weighed on when the energy sector lost 0.64 percent as oil prices fell on Thursday.

The oil and gas company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. plunged 1.22 percent to 30.65 Canadian dollars, and Husky Energy Inc. shrank 2.33 percent to 22.24 Canadian dollars.

And the most influential sector Financials also inched lower 0. 13 percent with Royal Bank of Canada down 0.15 percent to 73.42 Canadian dollars.

Other sectors were slightly higher as Telecom, the biggest gainer in TSX on Thursday, added 0.7 percent.

And the real estate subsector gained 0.25 percent as Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust rose 0.43 percent to 27.92 Canadian dollars.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Thursday, the index was up 0.6 percent in September from the previous month, a ninth consecutive monthly increase.

“Overall, September’s housing markets stats are consistent with a continued hot housing market,” Diana Petramala, an economist from TD Bank, wrote in a report on Thursday.

But the average existing home prices are likely to be held back by a shift towards more affordable types of housing and regions away from Toronto and Vancouver, according to the report.

On the currency front, the Canadian dollar on Thursday extended gains to settle at USD0.7784 at 4 o’clock (the Canadian Eastern Time), when compared with USD0.7739 on Wednesday.