The TSX restarts trading, after the third halt in 7 days

An Iraqi man, wearing a protective mask, rides a bicycle down street in the capital Baghdad on March 16, 2020 amidst efforts against the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus disease. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images)

Trading on the TSX (^GSPTSE) was halted for the third time since last week on coronavirus fears and another emergency U.S. interest rate cut, before closing down around 10 per cent.

The TSX is down 31 per cent from its all-time high, reached in February.

It opened down more than 11 per cent, to start what could be another volatile week for stocks.

When trading resumed Canada’s main index was down 13 per cent. Bank stocks, including Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) and The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) were among the hardest hit early in the day. They fell around 9 percent and 7 per cent respectively.

Air Canada (AC.TO) had a much deeper rout, down around 28 per cent. The midstream oil and gas firm Enbridge (ENB.TO) lost around 12 per cent.

Losses started to pare as the trading day continued. The TSX was down around 7 per cent by noon, but still in bear market territory.

“Looking back to the 1920s (for the S&P 500) there have been 12 bear markets (defined as a 20% decline from highs) before this current one with an average decline in the 42% range (and 35% if we count the first two far steeper bear markets as outliers),” Ryan Modesto, CEO at 5i research, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

“So, while there might be a bit more pain and negative headlines coming our way, when we look at the data that we have to go on, we think we are closer to being on the tail end of this selloff rather than the beginning.”

But Modesto says that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a smooth ride.

“This of course does not mean that volatility will settle down anytime soon but at this stage we think markets have had time to better understand and price in a lot of the scenarios that can play out due to recent events,”he said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark to zero and restarted quantitative easing, which caused future markets to plunge and trigger circuit breakers to halt trading.

G7 leaders met today by conference call to discuss further coordinated efforts to deal with the pandemic.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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