TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index closed modestly lower on Friday as new COVID-19 restrictions around the world weighed on oil prices.
Macan Nia, senior investment strategist Manulife Investment Management, said traders have been watching for news on the “three Ps:” pandemic, policies and politics. Pandemic-related news dominated markets on Friday, said Nia, after major international hubs such as London and Paris imposed new virus-related restrictions this week.
Pfizer Inc.’s chief executive said on Friday the company cannot request emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine before the third week of November. The World Health Organization also released a study, which was not peer-reviewed, suggesting that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon had “little or no effect” on whether or not COVID-19 patients died within about a month or whether hospitalized patients recovered.
“I think investors are taking vaccine-related news like the general population, and that’s what a grain of salt. So every day, there’s positive news. And every day, there seems to be certain setbacks with certain vaccines and certain therapeutics,” Nia said.
“The reason for the underperformance of the TSX, relative to its global peers, I would attribute it to the first ‘P’: the pandemic. The numbers across Europe continue to worsen. In the U.S., they seem to be increasing, and that’s having an impact on oil prices.”
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 62.28 points at 16,438.75. Energy and materials were among the weakest sectors at the Toronto Stock Exchange, where the energy subindex fell more than 1.5% and gold companies fell nearly 1.5%.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 112.11 points at 28,606.31, the S&P 500 index was up less than half a point at 3,483.81, while the Nasdaq composite was down 42.31 points at 11,671.56.
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