Bay Street Likely To Open With Negative Gap

Canadian shares are likely to open on a negative note on Friday, tracking weakness in global markets amid rising concerns about coronavirus infections.

Crude oil's sharp plunge is likely to weigh on energy stocks. Despite firm bullion prices, the undertone is likely to be extremely cautious.

The mood across global markets is quite bearish amid reports about the detection of a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant in South Africa.

Not much is known so far about the variant detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, but scientists said it may be able to evade immune responses or make it more transmissible.

According to reports, the World Health Organization will hold a "special meeting" to discuss if the heavily mutated strain will become a variant of interest or a variant of concern.

The Canadian stock market ended higher on Thursday, gaining for a third straight session, thanks to gains in information technology and healthcare sections. The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended with a gain of 64.75 points or 0.3% at 21,613.18.

Asian stocks tumbled on Friday on virus jitters. Chinese shares ended lower as a handful of local Covid-19 cases in eastern parts of China prompted Shanghai city to limit tourism activities and a nearby city to cut public transportation services.

European stocks are plunging sharply, with reports about a newly identified and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant adding to concerns over surging Covid cases in Europe.

The new variant has been red-flagged by scientists over an alarmingly high number of spike mutations that might make the virus more resistant to vaccines.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures are down $5.20 or 6.6% at $73.19 a barrel.

Gold futures are gaining $28.80 or 1.6% at $1,813.10 an ounce, while Silver futures are up $0.114 or 0.51% at $23.610 an ounce.

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