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Canadian Shares Tumble On Growth Worries As Trade War Tensions Escalate

Canadian shares are down sharply Monday morning, mirroring the trend across the globe, with an escalation in U.S.-China trade conflict triggering a big sell-off at several counters from across various sectors.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which plunged to 16,111.26, is down 164.52 points, or 1.01%, at 16,133.03.

On Friday, the benchmark index ended down 24.20 points, or 0.15%, at 16,297.55, after being down more than 180 points at one stage.

After the U.S. raised tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10% last week, China has retaliated by announcing plans to raise tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

China said the increase in tariffs (ranging from 5 to 25%) on over 5,100 products would take effect on June 1st.

China had said last week that it would take "necessary countermeasures" in response to the tariff increase, despite Trump's warning that the situation "will only get worse" if China retaliates.

Healthcare stocks are the worst hit. The Capped Healthcare Index is down nearly 3.5%. The Capped Consumer Discretionary Index is down 2.55%, while Information Technology, Energy and Financial averages are down 1.3 to 2%.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO), Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO), Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) are down 4 to 5.2%.

Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) is declining by about 2.7%. The company announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, HemPoland, has entered into an agreement with Mediakos UG to be the exclusive distributor of CannabiGold, its premium hemp CBD brand, for the German pharmacy market.

Among energy stocks, MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) are down 1 to 3%.

Ensign Energy Services Inc. (ESI.TO) is down 2.3%. The company reported net loss of $22.3 million, or $0.14 per common share, for the quarter ended March 2019, compared to net loss of $26.7 million, or $0.17 per common share, for the three months ended March 2018.

In the materials space, Lundin Mining Corporation (LUN.TO) and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) are both plunging more than 6%.

Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO), Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO) and Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) are up 1.3 to 1.75%, while B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO) is rising 3.3%.

In the financial space, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) are down 1.1 to 1.7%.

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) is declining more than 3% and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) is down 2.1%, while Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO) is up 0.5%.

Premium Brands Holdings Corporation (PBH.TO) reported adjusted EPS of $0.52 per share for the first quarter of 2019, down from $064 per share in the first quarter of 2018. The company has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.525 per share. The stock is down 2.8%.

U.S. stocks are down sharply. Among the major averages, Dow and S&P 500 are both down by about 2.3%, while the Nasdaq is down more than 3%.

The markets in Europe ended mostly lower. Asian markets too closed weak on Monday.

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