North American stock markets make gains from morning plunge

TORONTO — North American stock markets made back some of their earlier losses Thursday to end the trading day relatively flat.

The S&P/TSX composite index inched up 4.63 points to 16,299.29. It lost nearly 280 points earlier in the day.

article continues below

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 225.92 points to 26,313.65. The S&P 500 index fell 12.22 points to 3,246.22, while the Nasdaq composite advanced 44.87 points to 10,587.81.

The Dow Jones lost more than 300 points earlier in the day, while the S&P had declined by more than 40 and the Nasdaq fell by about 175.

Economic data out of the U.S. drove the market losses early Thursday morning, said Mike Archibald, vice president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc.

The Labor Department released a report that showed the 19th consecutive week of more than one million people applying for unemployment benefits with more than 1.4 million Americans applying last week. Seventeen million people are collecting traditional jobless benefits.

"Kind of throws a bit of cold water on how quick the economic restart is and the turnaround that's happening in the economy," he said, noting market watchers also had their eye on U.S. gross domestic product figures, released earlier in the day.

The U.S. economy shrank at a 32.9 per cent annual rate in the April to June quarter, the worst recorded quarterly plunge since 1947.

After bigger drops in the indexes Thursday morning, "we've just been clawing back," said Archibald, noting the trading activity has often followed a similar trend over the past several months.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.45 US compared with 74.85 on Wednesday.

The September crude contract declined US$1.35 to US$39.92 per barrel and the September natural gas contract fell about 10 cents to nearly US$1.83 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract shed US$9.90 to US$1,966.80 an ounce after days of setting new records and moving closer to the US$2,000 an ounce mark.

Archibald attributed the retreat in gold to some profit taking.

The September copper contract fell about a penny to US$2.91 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

© Virden Empire-Advance