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TSX Ends Firmly In Negative Territory Despite Paring Some Losses

The Canadian stock market ended with moderate losses on Thursday, after trading in negative territory right through the session, as worries about an escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions rendered the mood bearish.

After a gap down opening and a subsequent sharp fall that resulted in the benchmark losing about 140 points, the market regained some lost ground with energy shares finding support.

Stocks fell early on in the session, reacting to U.S. President Donald Trump's comments on Wednesday that the U.S. is planning to raise tariffs on Chinese goods because China "broke the deal."

The market recovered later on in the session after Trump told reporters at the White House a trade deal with China is still possible.

Trump indicated he has set a midnight deadline to reach a trade agreement, calling raising tariffs an "excellent" alternative.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 75.65 points, or 0.46%, at 16,321.75, more than 60 points off the day's low of 16,258.92.

Healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks ended sharply lower. Materials and financial stocks were weak as well, while consumer staples and industrial stocks found support.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) ended up 5.2% on turnaround results. The company reported net income of C$1.9 for the quarter ended March 2019, as against net loss of C$90.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) gained nearly 2% and Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) advanced by about 1.5%.

Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) shed about 2.3%. Enbridge (ENB.TO) and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) lost 0.7% each.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) ended little changed. The company reported that its first-quarter net earnings climbed to C$961 million from last year's C$583 million. Earnings per share grew to C$0.80 from C$0.47 a year ago.

IAM Gold Corporation (IMG.TO) moved up 3.75%. Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO), Lundin Mining Corporation (LUN.TO) and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) ended with sharp to moderate losses.

Shares of Magna International Inc. (MG.TO) plummeted almost 10%.The company reported first-quarter net income attributable to the company of $1.11 billion, higher than last year's $660 million. Earnings per share increased to $3.39 from $1.83 last year.

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) declined 0.85% and Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) shed about 2.8%. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) ended lower by 0.6%.

Cannabis stocks Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) lost 2.5% and 2.8%, respectively. Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) plunged more than 8%.

On the economic front, a report from Statistics Canada said new house prices stayed put in March, for a second consecutive month.

Another report from the same bureau said Canadian exports rose 3.2% in March, while imports increased 2.5%.

Canada's merchandise trade deficit narrowed from $3.4 billion in February to $3.2 billion in March, the data showed.

U.S. stocks recovered some lost ground, but still ended the session notably lower. The Dow finished 0.5% down, the Nasdaq ended lower by 0.4% and the S&P 500 edged down by 0.3%.

European markets suffered sharp losses as trade tensions increased after U.S. President Donald Trump commented on Wednesday that China "broke the deal" in negotiations and China said it would retaliate.

Asian markets ended weak on Thursday with investors looking ahead to the U.S.-China trade discussions.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude futures for June settled at $61.71 a barrel, down $0.42 from previous close.

Gold futures for June settled at $1,285.20, gaining $3.80, or 0.3%, for the session.

Silver futures for July ended down $0.089, at $14.773 an ounce, while Copper futures for July settled at $2.7715 per pound, down $0.0030 from previous close.

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