Despite higher crude oil and gold prices, the Canadian stock market ended sharply lower on Monday as worries about the economic impact amid reports showing a surge in new coronavirus infection cases across the U.S. and several other countries rendered the mood bearish.
Sentiment was also hurt following the U.S. Senate failing to pass the bill pertaining to a massive $1.8 trillion relief package.
The Federal Reserve announced extensive new measures, including an unlimited expansion of its asset purchases to support the financial market, but investors in global stock markets remained reluctant to pick up stocks, and instead, chose to exit counters.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 623.32 points, or 5.26%, at 11,228.49, around 55 points off the day's low of 11,172.73.
The index has shed nearly 35% in the span of 16 sessions since the beginning of this month, recording losses in ten of these sessions.
Real estate stocks were battered, resulting in the sectoral index losing as much as 14.52%. Mirroring the sell-off in the utilities space, the Capped Utilities Index declined 13.11%. Telecom, consumer staples and financial stocks also plunged sharply.
Energy stocks lost ground despite a surge in crude oil prices. The Capped Energy index shed 3.79%. Consumer discretionary and healthcare stocks too closed sharply lower.
Materials shares moved up sharply, lifted by a rally in gold prices. Information technology stocks too found good support.
On the economic front, data released by Statistics Canada showed wholesale sales in the country rose for a second consecutive month, increasing by 1.8% to $65.2 billion in January.
U.S. stocks were firmly in negative territory amid disappointment at the U.S. Congress failing to pass a bill related to a massive rescue package. The Dow ended lower by 3% and the S&P 500 declined 2.9%, while the Nasdaq edged down by 0.3%.
Markets across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region ended mostly in negative territory with sharp losses.
In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.73, or about 3.2%, at $23.36 a barrel.
Gold futures for April surged up $83, or about 5.6%, to $1,567.60 an ounce.
Silver futures for May ended up $0.876 at $13.261 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled lower by $0.0710 at $2.1005 per pound