It was another day of bruising for equity markets everywhere, as oil prices and the effects of the spread of the coronavirus continued to take their toll on economies throughout the world.
The TSX Composite Index tumbled 688 points, or 4.6%, to 14,270.09
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The Canadian dollar was down 0.11 at 72.70 cents U.S.
Health-care issues took it hardest on the chin, with Aurora Cannabis dipping 16 cents, or 12%, to $1.18, while Chartwell Retirement dropped $1.55, or 11.5%, to $11.99.
Energy stocks also suffered, with Shawcor sliding 77 cents, or 19.4%, to $3.21, while Whitecap Resources slumped 35 cents, or 16.6%, to $1.76.
Among gold stocks, B2Gold subsided 59 cents, or 10.4%, to $5.08, while Seabridge Gold slipped $1.62, or 11.9%, to $12.04.
The TSX Venture Exchange fell 25.87 points, or 5.6%, to 438.87.
All 12 TSX subgroups were negative, with health-care worsening 7%, while energy lurched 6.8% lower and gold faded 6.3%.
The coronavirus-induced selloff reached a new low on Wednesday as Wall Street grappled with the rapid spread of the virus as well as uncertainty around a fiscal response to curb slower economic growth from the outbreak.
The Dow Jones Industrials fell hard, losing 1,464.94 points, or 5.9%, to 23,553.22. The 30-stock average closed more than 20% below the record highs set last month. A 20% decline is considered a bear market on Wall Street.
However, most investors don’t recognize it officially until the index does it on a closing basis. The Dow did so on Wednesday, whereas the S&P 500 is just above that closing threshold.
The broader S&P 500 backed down 140.85 points, or 4.9%, to 2,741.38, more than 19% from its closing record
The NASDAQ dumped 392.20 points, or 4.7%, to 7,952.05, and was also about 19% below its all-time high.
President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday a 0% payroll tax rate that could last until the end of the year. However, the timing of such policies being implemented remains uncertain.
The World Health Organization declared Wednesday the outbreak a global pandemic. The number of coronavirus cases around the world totaled more than 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S. alone, more than 1,000 cases have been confirmed. This increase in cases added to fears of a global economic slowdown and have increased calls for government intervention.
The uncertainty around fiscal stimulus, coupled with a reduction in travel demand and rising coronavirus cases, pressured airline and cruise line stocks. American, Delta, United and JetBlue all fell at least 4.3%. Norwegian Cruise Line backtracked 26.7% and Carnival fell 9.5%.
Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury skidded, raising yields to 0.85% from Tuesday’s 0.63%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices fell $1.35 to $33.01 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices skidded $24.70 to $1,635.60 U.S. an ounce.