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TMCNet:  Stocks finish in the red

[April 04, 2014]

Stocks finish in the red

(Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Energy up, health-care sinks WEEKLY MARKET WRAP UP<iframe></iframe> North American stock markets dropped into negative territory Friday afternoon as traders soured to the latest U.S. jobs figures.


The S&P/TSX composite index fell 9.11 points to end Friday at 14,393.10. The index had gained in five of the last six sessions and is up about 6% in 2014.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.49 cents at 91.09 cents U.S.

Shares in Air Canada were cleared for takeoff, after the company said results for the first quarter will be better than expected. Improved revenues and lower costs will help earnings remain in-line with the same time last year, the airline said.

The new outlook erases a $15-$30 million shortfall that the company had initially anticipated in the period. Air Canada stock rose $1.54, or 26.7%, to $7.30.

Gold stocks finished in the green, as Barrick Gold advanced six cents to $20.30, and Goldcorp rose 22 cents to $27.36.

Oil prices also climbed, helping drive up the energy sector. Suncor Energy Inc was up 34 cents, or 0.9% at $39.55, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd gained 10 cents to $43.65.

Health-care issues backpedaled, as Valeant Pharmaceutical slipped $5.59, or 3.9%, to $136.92.

Information technology stocks tanked with BlackBerry off 26 cents, or 2.9%, to $8.81.

In the economic docket, Statistics Canada reported this morning that the economy added 43,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 6.9%. Overall employment growth in Canada has been subdued since August 2013.

Western University's Ivey School of Business reported that its Purchasing Managers' Index stood at 55.2 for March, compared to 57.2 in February and 61.6 for March 2013. The index asks purchasing managers if their buying activity increased or slumped the month before.

A figure above 50 shows an increase while below 50 shows a decrease.

ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange grew 5.20 points Friday to 1,007.16 The 14 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers, as telecoms, consumer staples and energy stocks each gained 0.5%.

The seven laggards were weighed mostly by the health-care sector, down 2.5%, information technology, slipping 1%, and consumer discretionary stocks, down 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET Investors rushed for the exits Friday afternoon as the NASDAQ plunged 2.6% and the Dow and S&P 500 fell about 1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 159.84 points, or 1%, to 16,412.71. The S&P 500 sank 23.56 points to 1,865.21. The NASDAQ tumbled 110.01 points to 4,127.63 After a rather bullish start to the week, gains evaporated on Friday. The NASDAQ is down more than 0.7% for the week, although the Dow and S&P 500 are still eking out weekly gains.

Netflix, Facebook ,Priceline, Amazon were all pummeled as investors began to question future prospects.

The other sector that can't seem to stop the slide is biotechnology. Biogen Idec, Regeneron, Alexion Pharmaceuticals are all diving.

Sharing in the biotech butchery were Amgen and Halozyme Therapeutics. A late-stage test of Amgen's skin cancer drug disappointed researchers, and Halozyme plunged after it suspended a study of it pancreatic cancer drug due to patient safety concerns.

GrubHub, the online food ordering company priced its initial public offering at $26 U.S. a share. It surged close to 50% before falling back. The stock is now trading around $35.

Another stock also making its market debut: IMS Health. Shares of the healthcare information provider are up more than 10%. The IPO was priced last night at $20 U.S. a share.

Shares of Synnex are also sharply higher. The computer hardware distributor reported better than expected earnings late Thursday. Brean Capital also raised its price target for the stock to $85 a share from $72 a share.

Generic drug company Mylan was one of the best performing stocks in the S&P 500 this surge morning. That's despite news that Swedish rival Meda rejected an offer from Mylan to combine the two companies.

CarMax, the biggest seller of used cars in the U.S., reported weaker than expected earnings largely due to what the company referred to as an accounting correction. Its shares fell, too.

The U.S. government said 192,000 jobs were added last month. The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7%, and wage growth is still weak.

While March job growth was slightly weaker than economists predicted (economists expected a figure of 219,000), January and February payrolls were revised higher, showing more job gains than first reported during the frigid winter months.

The report could influence the pace at which the Federal Reserve continues to withdraw its support for the economy. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said this week that the jobs market was far from healthy, especially with such slow wage growth.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries gained, dropping yields to 2.73% from Thursday's 2.79%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 88 cents to $101.17 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices took on $18.40 to $1,303 U.S. an ounce.

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