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Canadian Shares Exhibiting Weakness On Virus Concerns

The Canadian stock market is down marginally around Thursday noon after a weak start as worries about the spread of coronavirus resurfaced.

Energy and telecommunications shares are exhibiting weakness, while shares from materials and information technology sections are finding good support. Financial, industrial and consumer discretionary shares are turning in a mixed performance.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is down 16.05 points, or 0.09%, at 17,816.80 a little past noon. Earlier, the index declined to a low of 17,750.78.

Energy shares Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) and Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) are down 1 to 1.6%.

Telecom stock Telus Corp (T.TO) is declining by about 1.7%. Shaw Communications (SJR.B.TO), Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR.B.TO) and Rogers Communications (RCI.B.TO) are down 0.5 to 0.75%.

Materials shares Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Norbord Inc (OSB.TO) and West Fraser Timber (WFT.TO) are up 2 to 3.5%. Alacer Gold (ASR.TO), Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO), Pan American Silver Corp (PAAS.TO) and Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO) are gaining 1.2 to 1.5%.

In the information technology space, Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) is rising nearly 2%, extending gains from previous session. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is rising 1.3%, while Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) and Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) are up 1% and 0.85%, respectively.

Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) reported a net income of $719 million for the fourth quarter, up 24% from $580 milllion in the year-ago quarter. The company said it earned $1.22 per share in the three months ended Dec. 31, up from 96 cents per share a year earlier. The stock, however, is down by about 0.6%.

Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) is declining 1.1%. The company said it earned $1.23 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, up from $593 million a year earlier. Last year's net income included a restructuring charge.

Global stocks shed ground as worries about coronavirus resurfaced after the adoption of new methodology for counting infections. According to reports there were 242 deaths from the virus in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday - the bulk of it due to reclassification. The number of new infections increased, with 14,840 people diagnosed with the virus.

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