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TSX Ends Weak For 3rd Straight Day

The Canadian market ended weak on Thursday, extending recent losses, as investors stayed wary of picking up stocks amid worries about a slowdown in global economic recovery due to rising coronavirus cases.

Investors also tracked U.S. jobless claims data, and the European Central Bank's policy statement for direction.

Consumer staples and industrials shares were the major losers. Information technology stocks found support, while energy, financial, materials and healthcare shares turned in a mixed performance.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which slipped into negative territory in late morning trades despite recovering after a weak start, ended the session with a loss of 36.52 points or 0.18% at 20,705.27. The index touched a high of 20,785.57 and a low of 20,675.47 intraday.

Consumer staples stock Empire Company (EMP.A.TO) ended lower by 3.43% after reporting a slight drop in earnings. The company reported net earnings of $188.5 million in the first quarter of current financial year, compared to $191.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Sunopta Inc (SOY.TO) shed 3.7% and Metro Inc (MRU.TO) declined 2.2%.

Among the stocks in the Industrials Index, Transcontinental Inc. (TCL.A.TO) ended nearly 5% down. The company reported net earnings of $28.1 million in the third-quarter, compared with net earnings of $48.3 million a year ago.

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) closed nearly 4% down, New Flyer Industries (NFI.TO) shed 3.1% and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) ended lower by about 2.1%.

Information technology stock Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) climbed 6.25%. BlackBerry (BB.TO) and Nuvei Corp (NVEI.TO) gained 2.8% and 2.65%, respectively. Shopify Inc (SHOP.TO) and Quarterhill (QTRH.TO) moved up 1.4% and 1.2%, respectively.

Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) gained 1.3%. The company reported second-quarter net income of $23.2 million, up 121% from $10.5 million in the second-quarter of the previous financial year.

Shares of discount retail stores operator Dollarama Inc. (DOL.TO) declined more than 3%. The company reported second-quarter net earnings of $146.2 million, or $0.48 per diluted common share, compared to $142.5 million, or $0.26 per diluted common share, in the second quarter of the previous financial year.

The report from Labor Department said initial jobless claims in the U.S. fell to 310,000, a decrease of 35,000 from the previous week's revised level of 345,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 335,000 from the 340,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims once again dropped to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

The ECB today left its key interest rate, the main refinancing rate, unchanged at zero, the deposit rate at -0.50% and the marginal lending rate at 0.25%, in line with economists' expectations.

The ECB said it will slow the pace of its emergency asset purchases, which were launched last year to support the economy amid the Covid-19 crisis, as policymakers worry higher inflation may last long.

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