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TSX sees biggest gain since 2008 as stimulus ramps up

Coronavirus outbreak: Morneau announces $10 billion to support businesses amid COVID-19 concerns
WATCH: Coronavirus outbreak - Morneau announces $10 billion to support businesses amid COVID-19 concerns

Canada’s main stock market notched on Friday its biggest gain since October 2008, as Canada ramped up stimulus to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, while the Canadian dollar edged higher after hitting an earlier four-year low.

The Bank of Canada unexpectedly cut its overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0.75 per cent, its second half-point cut in nine days, and the government said it would offer C$10 billion in credit support to businesses.

Hopes of coordinated stimulus from world governments boosted stocks globally after several sessions of sustained, heavy losses on expectations of a global slowdown that could be prolonged.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Trudeau announces economic aid package to help Canadians amid outbreak

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to help facilitate increased funding to combat the virus.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 833.72 points, or 3.93 per cent, to 22,034.34, the S&P 500 gained 93.62 points, or 3.77 per cent, to 2,574.26 and the Nasdaq Composite added 257.23 points, or 3.57 per cent, to 7,459.04.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Stock Exchange Composite Index closed up 9.7 per cent at 13,716.33, recovering some ground after a record decline on Thursday. For the week, the index was down 15.2 per cent, its biggest drop since October 2008.

Nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups were higher, led by a near 15 per cent gain for the heavily-weighted financial services sector, while energy was up 10.6 per cent.

Coronavirus outbreak: Bank of Canada slashes policy rate to 0.75%
Coronavirus outbreak: Bank of Canada slashes policy rate to 0.75%

The price of oil, one of Canada’s major exports, had its biggest weekly slide since the 2008 financial crisis despite settling 0.7 per cent higher on Friday, as the coronavirus outbreak threatened demand and crude producers promised more supply.

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Despite prospects for stimulus, economists see potential for Canada’s economy to slip into recession.

“We’re penciling in two negative quarters in Q2 and Q3 at this point,” said Nathan Janzen, a senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada “Negatives from the virus and the oil price shock are too much to keep growth positive.”

Money markets expect the Bank of Canada to ease by an additional 25 basis points at its next scheduled rate announcement on April 15.

READ MORE: People hoard essentials as coronavirus fears rise, but panic buying isn’t necessary: experts

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.6 per cent higher at 1.3840 to the greenback, or 72.25 U.S. cents, having touched its weakest intraday level since February 2016 at 1.3996.

Canadian government bond yields rose across a steeper yield curve, with the 10-year yield up 25.3 basis points at 0.846 per cent. On Monday, the 10-year yield hit a record low at 0.233 per cent.