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Anxiety Prevails On Bay Street -- Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks finished lower after another volatile session Wednesday, stung by lower oil prices and an unconvincing rebound in U.S. equities.

Markets remain skittish after Monday's bloodbath on Wall Street. The major averages in U.S. and Canada slipped into the red in today's final hour, unable to sustain early gains.

Investors are concerned that rising U.S. inflation could mean the end to the era of "easy money" for the world's largest economy.

The TSX Composite Index was down 33.35 points to 15,330.58, having recently slipped to its lowest in months.

Crude oil futures fell sharply, extending a recent slump after data showed U.S. oil inventories dropped for a second week in a row.

March WTI oil settled at $61.79/bbl, down $1.60, or 2.5% -- the lowest in a month.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve) increased by 1.9 million barrels from the previous week.

Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels last week, and are
in the middle of the average range.

Hudson's Bay Co. has rejected an unsolicited offer for its German business from Signa Holding GmbH after a review. Shares were down 1 percent.

Canaccord Genuity (CF.TO) reported strong third quarter results on gains from investments in marijuana and cryptocurrencies. Still, shares fell 4.6 percent.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) says it will incur a pre-tax charge of $429-million in its upcoming fourth-quarter due to its Pascua-Lama project.

In economic news, Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion in building permits in December, up 4.8% following a 7.3% decline in November. The December increase stemmed from higher construction intentions in the residential sector.

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