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Canadian Stocks Are Struggling At The Outset - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market is down in early trade Monday. Energy and financial stocks are under pressure this morning, while healthcare and gold stocks are faring better. Gold stocks appear to be benefitting from their safe haven appeal as equity markets continue their recent struggles.

Markets in Europe are falling again Monday, extending their recent losing streak to six sessions. Coalition negotiations between German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party and the Social Democrats broke down over the weekend.

Markets on Wall Street got off to a weak start Monday, but have since pared their early losses. Concerns about higher interest rates appear to be weighing on investor sentiment at the start of the new trading week.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is down 72.31 points or 0.46 percent at 15,533.72.

On Friday, the index closed down 254.89 points or 1.61 percent, at 15,606.03. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,782.97 and a low of 15,600.92.

The heavyweight Financial Index is decreasing 0.85 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is losing 0.80 percent and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is falling 1.05 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is weakening by 1.02 percent Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is lower by 1.04 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is surrendering 0.90 percent and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is declining 1.30 percent.

The Energy Index is falling 0.79 percent. Crude oil prices are lower Monday as plunging U.S. stocks fueled concerns about a sell-off in all asset classes.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is losing 1.31 percent and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is declining 0.21 percent. Encana (ECA.TO) is falling 0.56 percent and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is weakening by 0.14 percent. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is decreasing 0.96 percent and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is dropping 1.36 percent. Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is lower by 1.80 percent and Enbridge (ENB.TO) is down 0.32 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index is down 0.51 percent. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is falling 0.57 percent and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is weakening by 0.15 percent. Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) is dropping 1.36 percent and WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) is losing 1.42 percent. Air Canada (AC.TO) is also lower by 0.68 percent.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is down 0.18 percent. TELUS (T.TO) is weakening by 0.04 percent and Rogers Communications (RCI-B.TO) is lower by 0.44 percent. BCE (BCE.TO) is dropping 0.11 percent.

The Capped Healthcare Index is higher by 4.24 percent. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) is up 1.74 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is up 0.87 percent. Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is advancing 0.77 percent

The Gold Index is increasing 0.28 percent. Gold prices are nearly unchanged Monday morning.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is rising 0.41 percent and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) is gaining 1.98 percent. Kinross Gold (K.TO) is climbing 0.59 percent and Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) is increasing 1.32 percent. B2Gold (BTO.TO) is higher by 1.10 percent and IAMGOLD (IMG.TO) is adding 1.58 percent.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is climbing 13.06 percent. The weed grower signed a deal to buy a minority stake in Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd., which will sell marijuana.

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH.TO) is down 0.48 percent. The company is preparing to acquire Carillion Canada's core businesses. The Canadian unit of belly-up Carllion has already filed for bankruptcy protection.

On the economic front, China's private sector activity expanded at the fastest pace in seven years in January driven by accelerated rates of activity growth across both manufacturing and services. The Caixin composite Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 53.7 in January from 53.0 in December, data from IHS Markit showed Monday.

The euro area economy expanded at the fastest pace since mid-2006 in January, final data from IHS Markit showed Monday. The final composite output index rose more than initially estimated to 58.8 in January from 58.1 in December. The flash score was 58.6.

Eurozone investor confidence weakened in February, survey data from think tank Sentix showed Monday. The investor sentiment index fell unexpectedly to 31.9 from 32.9 in January. The score was forecast to rise to 34.5.

Eurozone retail sales declined in December after recovering a month ago, Eurostat reported Monday. The volume of retail trade dropped 1.1 percent month-on-month in December, in contrast to the 2 percent rise posted in November. Sales were forecast to drop 1 percent.

British service sector activity expanded at a slower pace in January, largely reflecting weak gains in new work as Brexit remains the main course of concern, survey data from IHS Markit showed Monday. The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Purchasing Managers' Index, dropped more-than-expected to 53.0 in January from 54.2 in December. The expected reading was 54.0.

In commodities, crude oil futures for March delivery are down 0.70 or 1.07 percent at $64.75 a barrel.

Natural gas for March is down 0.076 or 2.67 percent at $2.77 per million btu.

Gold futures for April are down 0.6 or 0.04 percent at $1,336.70 an ounce.

Silver for March is up 0.111 or 0.66 percent at $16.82 an ounce.

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