Plus   Neg

Canadian Stocks Showing Modest Move Back To The Downside

After inching up to new record highs in the previous session, Canadian stocks have moved modestly lower over the course of the trading day on Friday.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index showed a lack of direction early in the session but is currently lingering in negative territory, down 27.24 points or 0.2 percent at 17,087.38.

Profit taking has contributed to the weakness in the markets, with traders cashing in on recent gains amid concerns rising tensions between the U.S. and China over the situation in Hong Kong could impact ongoing trade talks.

After President Donald Trump signed two bills in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry threatened strong countermeasures.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused the U.S. of interfering in China's internal affairs and violating international law and the basic norms governing international relations.

"China will take strong counter-measures in response to the U.S. behavior that interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's interests," Geng said.

"No one shall underestimate China's determination in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests," he added. "Nor shall they misjudge China's resolve in implementing the 'one country, two systems' principle and in upholding prosperity and stability in Hong Kong."

With a fresh round of protests expected over the weekend, the dispute over the situation in Hong Kong could potentially derail the long-awaited phase one trade deal.

Trading activity has remained relatively light, however, with many traders sticking to the sidelines following the U.S. holiday on Thursday.

Energy stocks are turning some of the market's worst performances on the day, dragging the S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index down by 1.2 percent.

The weakness in the energy sector comes amid a steep drop by the price of crude oil, with crude for January delivery plunging $2.30 to $55.81 a barrel.

Healthcare stocks are also pulling back sharply following recent strength, while most of the other major sectors are showing more modest moves.

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