Energy Stocks Set to Bear Brunt of Canadian Tax-Loss Selling

By Michael Bellusci and Aoyon Ashraf

(Bloomberg) Energy, cannabis and travel stocks may come under pressure as Canadian investors sell to trigger tax losses before the end of December.

Oil and gas producers look particularly vulnerable to this year’s selling within Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index, as Covid-19 pushed oil to record lows earlier this year during strict lockdowns.

Vermilion Energy Inc. and Enerplus Corp. are among drillers that have fallen more than 60% this year. Twenty-one of the 23 stocks in the TSX energy index have declined at least 15%.

Toronto’s 222-member index has 41 companies that have fallen more than 20% this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Air Canada, down more than 50%, has suffered from pandemic travel restrictions. Marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc. has fallen 64% despite recent optimism that a Biden presidency will benefit the sector. The benchmark is up 1.24% this year.

Dec. 29 is the final day for tax-loss selling for investors seeking to post a capital loss in calendar 2020, according to National Bank ETF strategists led by Daniel Straus.

Meanwhile, Canaccord Genuity is recommending some opportunities during this period. Torc Oil & Gas Ltd., Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust and SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. are among potential tax-loss selling candidates that are expected to recover, analysts Doug Taylor and Javed Mirza said in a note.

Canaccord also highlighted some “switch trade” ideas where investors can swap out a position. The firm sees an opportunity to own Aritzia Inc. as its peer Gildan Activewear Inc. could see more selling pressure. Knight Therapeutics Inc. is also a tax-loss candidate, and investors may look to own HLS Therapeutics Inc. instead, the analysts said.

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