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Canadian Shares Exhibit Weakness On Trade Worries, Falling Oil Prices

After a weak start, the Canadian stock market continued to struggle in negative territory Wednesday morning, amid worries about U.S.-China trade dispute and falling crude oil prices.

Energy, financial and healthcare shares declined, pushing the market down, while gains in mining and consumer staples sections limited its slide.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 41.39 points, or 0.25%, at 16,207.37, slightly off the session's low of 16,199.93.

Among energy stocks, Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) was down nearly 5%, Parex Resources (PXT.TO) was lower by 3.2% and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) was down 3%.

Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Precision Drilling Corp. (PD.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Canadian Natural Gas (CNQ.TO) and Enerplus Corp. (ERF.TO) were down 1.5 to 3%. Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) and PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) were also notably lower.

In the financial space, CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO), Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) were down 1 to 2.5%.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) were down by 0.5 to 1%.

Among healthcare shares. Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) and Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) were down 4.1% and 3.5%, respectively. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO), Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) and CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) were lower by 1.5 to 2%.

Cascades Inc. (CAS.TO), up nearly 10%, was the biggest gainer in the Materials index. Canfor Corp. (CFP.TO) was down 7% and West Fraser Timber (WFT.TO) lost about 5.8%.

Interfor Corp. (IFP.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO), SSR Mining (SSRM.TO), Norbord Inc. (OSB.TO), B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO), Yamana GOld (YRI.TO) and Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO) gained 3 to 5.4%.

Novagold (NG.TO), MAG Silver (MAG.TO), First Majestic Silver Corp. (FR.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO), Pan American Silver Corp. (PASS.TO), Detour Gold (DG.TO), Nutrien (NTR.TO), Oceanagold Corp. (OGC.TO) and Semafo (SMF.TO) also rose sharply.

On Wall Street, stocks were mostly sluggish as traders weighed lingering U.S.-China trade concerns against optimism about an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

U.S. President Donald Trump had said on Tuesday that he has "no interest" in negotiating unless China agrees to come back to the table to discuss previous terms of a deal he has claimed was nearly complete.

Trump said he expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit and has warned that he will impose new tariffs on Chinese goods if his counterpart does not attend.

Markets in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region closed weak on Wednesday due to rising worries about the impact of U.S.-China trade conflict on the global economy.

In commodities, crude oil futures were down $1.55, or 2.91%, at $51.72 a barrel, on rising U.S. crude stockpiles.

Gold futures for August were up $7.20, or 0.54%, at $1,338.40 an ounce.

Silver futures for July were up $0.040, or 0.27%, at $14.780 an ounce, while Copper futures for July were declining $0.0130, or 0.5%, at $2.6585 per pound.

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