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TSX Retreats After Positive Start, Ends Notably Lower

The Canadian stock market opened on a firm note on Friday, buoyed by robust jobs data and a surge in crude oil prices, but retreated soon and stayed weak till the end amid trade related concerns and fears of global economic slowdown.

According to a report released by Statistics Canada before the opening bell, Canadian employment increased by 94,000 jobs in November, more than 8.5 times the expected increase of 11,000 jobs. The Canadian unemployment rate also dropped to 5.6%.

Energy stocks gained after crude oil prices moved higher after the OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed on a production cut of 1.2 million barrels per day. While OPEC will cut production by 800,000 barrels per day, non-OPEC members, led by Russia, will cut output by 40,000 million barrels.

Disappointing U.S. jobs data and the resultant sell-off on Wall Street, Brexit uncertainty and worries about U.S.-China trade dispute and its impact on the global economy weighed on the market.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 141.87 points, or 0.95%, at 14,795.13. The index scaled a high of 15,059.70 and a low of 14,763.85 intraday.

On Thursday, the index closed down by 245.64 points or 1.62%, at 14,937.00.

Information technology, industrials, financial, consumer staples and consumer discretionary shares drifted lower. Energy, healthcare stocks moved up and materials stocks turned in a mixed performance.

Among bank stocks, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) declined by 1 to 1.3%. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) lost 0.8% and 0.4%, respectively, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) edged up marginally.

Among the stocks in the Industrials Index, Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) and Air Canada (AC.TO) declined by 3 to 4%. CAE Inc. (CAE.TO) ended more than 2% down, while Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) moved up 3.2%.

Information technology stock Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) declined nearly 7%. CGI Group Inc. (GIB.A.TO), BlackBerry (BB.TO), Kinaxis (KXS.TO) and Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) ended lower by 2 to 3.5%.

Healthcare stocks Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) gained 3.5% and 7.8%, respectively. Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) ended 8.2% down.

On Wall Street, stocks ended sharply lower despite coming off the day's lows. Dissapointing jobs data and lingering skepticism about a U.S.-China trade agreement weighed on the market.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 155,000 jobs in November after surging up by a downwardly revised 237,000 jobs in October. Economists had expected employment to climb by about 200,000 jobs compared to the jump of 250,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report said the unemployment rate in November remained unchanged for the second straight month at 3.7%, holding at its lowest level since hitting 3.5% in December of 1969.

Markets in Asia and Europe ended mostly higher on Friday.

In commodities, crude oil futures for January ended up $1.12, or 2.2%, at $52.61 a barrel, after OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day next year.

Gold futures for February ended up $9.00, or 0.7%, at $1,252.60 an ounce, the highest settlement in nearly five months.

Silver futures for March settled at $14.696 an ounce, gaining $0.187 for the session and Copper futures for March ended at $2.759 per pound, up $0.016 from previous close.

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