Canadian Stocks Fall as Brussels Attacks Fuel Demand for Havens

  • Airline stocks fall after 3 bombings leave at least 31 dead
  • Trudeau introduces budget with deficits running C$120 billion

Canadian stocks fell, led by declines among in industrial and material shares, after deadly bombings in Brussels fueled demand for safer assets.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 0.5 percent to 13,493.49 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The Canadian benchmark equity gauge is still up 3.7 percent this year and remains one of the best-performing developed markets in the world, posting returns ahead of the U.S., Germany and U.K. 

Equities tumbled in the final hour of trading, after fluctuating throughout the day, as Belgium remained at the highest terror-alert level amid fears of follow-up attacks after two explosions at the airport and one at a subway station near the European Union headquarters. Canadian airliners Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. slipped more than 2.3 percent as industrial stocks retreated the most among 10 industries in the S&P/TSX.

The retreat Tuesday marked a slowdown for the S&P/TSX, which rebounded as much as 15 percent from a 2 1/2-year low in January after last year posting one of the worst declines among developed markets. The Canadian benchmark equity gauge now trades at 21.5 times earnings, about 15 percent more expensive than the valuation of the U.S. equity benchmark, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show. 

Investors in Canada also waited on Tuesday for the first budget to be presented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. The budget, presented in Ottawa after markets closed in Toronto, will boost deficits to almost C$120 billion over six years, offering some stimulus to Canada’s struggling economy.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. added 9.6 percent to climb a second day. The drugmaker surged yesterday after shaking up its senior leadership, including the ouster of CEO Michael Pearson and billionaire investor Bill Ackman joining the board. Briefly the largest company in Canada by market capitalization last year, Valeant has lost almost 90 percent of its value from an August peak.

Veresen Inc. surged 7.2 percent, for the highest close since Dec. 10, after the energy infrastructure company has agreed to a deal with Jera Co. to sell at least 1.5 million tonnes a year of natural gas liquefaction capacity at Veresen’s Jordan Cove LNG facility in Oregon.

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