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Canadian Stocks Seeing Further Downside Following Yesterday's Sell-Off

Following the sell-off seen in the previous session, Canadian stocks have seen some further downside over the course of morning trading on Thursday.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index fluctuated early in the session but is currently down 54.91 points or 0.3 percent at 15,991.03, falling to its lowest levels in five months.

Healthcare stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances, resulting in a 4.2 percent nosedive by the S&P/TSX Capped Health Care Index.

A continued decrease by the price of crude oil is also contributing to notable weakness among energy stocks, while most of the other sectors are showing more modest moves.

Traders are digesting an avalanche of economic data from south of the border, including mixed reports on U.S. retail sales and industrial production.

The Commerce Department released a report before the start of trading showing U.S. retail sales climbed by much more than expected in July, partly reflecting the impact of online retail giant Amazon's (AMZN) Prime Day promotion.

The report said retail sales climbed by 0.7 percent in July after rising by a revised 0.3 percent in June. Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a drop in auto sales, retail sales surged up by 1.0 percent in July following a revised 0.3 percent increase in June. Ex-auto sales had been expected to climb by 0.4 percent, matching the growth originally reported for the previous month.

The jump in ex-auto sales partly reflected a 2.8 percent spike in sales by non-store retailers amid Amazon's Prime Day sales.

However, the Federal Reserve released a separate report just before the open unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in industrial production in July.

The Fed said industrial production edged down by 0.2 percent in July following a revised 0.2 percent increase in June.

Economists had expected industrial production to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected drop in production was partly due to a pullback in manufacturing output, which fell by 0.4 percent in July after climbing by 0.6 percent in June.

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