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Late Rally Masks Another Brutal Session -- Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks rallied late but failed to trim recent losses Friday, as crude oil prices plunged into correction territory.

The Canadian economy is sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices. Combined with concerns about rising interest rates, Canadian stocks have been among the worst performers among the major global markets this year.

At last check, the TSX Composite was down 17 points to 15,046, having dropped to the lowest since September.

A downbeat jobs report added to the pessimism. Following two months of increases, employment fell by 88,000 in January, according to Statistics Canada.

Part-time employment declined (-137,000), while full-time employment was up (+49,000). At the same time, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.9%.

March WTI oil fell $1.95, or 3.2%, to settle at $59.20/bbl, the lowest settlement since Dec. 22. Oil prices dropped 10% this week, as the EIA lifted its forecasts for 2018 and 2019 U.S. crude-oil production.

Energy stocks extended weekly losses and gold stocks fell 3.2 percent.

RBC Bank (RY.TO) is being criticized for another technical breakdown on its trading platform. Clients are reporting they have been unable to execute trades during the recent volatility in global stocks. RBC apologized.

Cameco Corporation (CCO.TO) said its bottom line came in at C$181 million, or C$0.46 per share. This was up from C$90 million, or C$0.23 per share, in last year's fourth quarter.

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