TSX Edges Up
Canada’s TSX gained 17 points or 0.1% to 18,853 on Friday and capped a flattish week, as equity markets continued to monitor rising bond yields amid gradual economic recoveries and slow vaccine rollouts. On the pandemic side, the US government announced that 1.5 million doses of its AstraZeneca vaccine will be sent to Canada and 2.5 million to Mexico, adopting a partial regional approach. On the macro side, latest figures showed retail trade shrank for the second month in January due to coronavirus restrictions but preliminary estimates point to a 4% rebound in February. Meanwhile, oil prices rebounded 2.8% to $61.7 per barrel after plunging as much as 9% in the previous session, but still booked its worst week since October.
Dow Jones Falls for 2nd Session
Dow Jones fell for the second day on Friday after Fed’s decision not to extend its capital break for banks triggered a rise in bond yields and a sell-off in financial stocks. The rule allowed banks to hold less capital against Treasury and other holdings. JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America slid more than 3% following the policy announcement. The Dow Jones close 234 points or 0.7% lower to 32,628, while the S&P 500 shed 3 points or 0.1% to 3913. In contrast, the Nasdaq gained 99 points or 0.8% to 13,215. During the week, the Dow Jones retreated 0.4%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.7% and the Nasdaq fell 0.3%.
Russia GDP Contracts at Faster Pace in February
Russia’s gross domestic product shrank by 2.8 percent year-on-year in February of 2021, following a downwardly revised 2.2 percent contraction in the previous month. Output declined faster for both industrial production (-3.7 percent vs -1.9 percent in January) and retail trade (-1.3 percent vs -0.1 percent). Also, construction activity showed no growth in February, after a 0.1 percent increase.
South African Stocks End at Over 1-Month Low
The FTSE/JSE All Share Index in South Africa closed 1.2% lower at 65,911 on Friday, its lowest level since February 11th, as mounting concerns over domestic power outages were reflected in shares of banks, financials and miners. Eskom has implored South Africans to use electricity sparingly, as it continues to struggle to meet demand but cancelled power cuts planned until Saturday. Meanwhile, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has unveiled eight independent power producers to support struggling Eskom, which are expected to inject 45 billion rands of private investment into the economy. The bidders will provide power generated by solar energy, wind, liquefied natural gas and battery storage, with renewable energy expected to start to flow to the grid from August 2022. On the week, the benchmark index lost 3.4%, the biggest decline since the end-October 2020. The South African stock market will be closed Monday in observance of Human Rights Day.