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Canadian Stocks Pull Back Off Record Highs Amid Steep In Oil Prices

Canadian stocks moved to the downside over the course of the trading day on Friday, pulling back off the record highs set in the previous session.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index climbed off its worst levels going into the close but still ended the down 74.32 points or 0.4 percent at 17,040.20.

The pullback by Canadian stocks came as traders cashed 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.

Energy stocks fell sharply as the price of crude oil plummeted on concerns about the rising tensions, with crude for January delivery plunging $2.94 or 5.1 percent to $55.17 a barrel.

The resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi also contributed to the steep drop in oil prices, as traders believe the news could help quell weeks of unrest in Iraq.

Traders were also looking ahead to next week's OPEC meeting, where the cartel and its allies are widely expected to extend the current output cut of 1.2 million barrels per day.

Profit taking also contributed to substantial weakness among healthcare stocks, which moved lower along with technology and industrial stocks.

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