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Canadian Stocks Show Modest Move To The Downside

Canadian stocks moved modestly lower during the trading day on Thursday, extending the steep downward move seen in the previous session.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dipped 33.41 points or 0.2 percent to 16,012.53, ending the session at its lowest closing levels in five months.

Healthcare stocks turned in some of the market's worst performances, resulting in a 6 percent nosedive by the S&P/TSX Capped Health Care Index.

A continued decrease by the price of crude oil also contributed to notable weakness among energy stocks, with crude for September delivery sliding $0.76 to $54.47 a barrel.

Industrial and financial stocks also moved to the downside on the day, while significant strength emerged among consumer staples stocks.

Traders were 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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