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TSX Turns Weak After Early Gains, Ends Sharply Lower

The Canadian stock market reversed early gains and ended sharply lower on Friday as the mood turned cautious amid worries about the coronavirus pandemic.

Stocks opened on a buoyant note, extending gains from previous session, amid hopes the relief and support packages announced by global central banks and several governments will help limit the impact of the virus outbreak. Crude oil's early uptick helped as well.

However, stocks began to climb down past noon, and the slide became more pronounced as the session progressed, after crude oil prices plummeted to a new 18-year low.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which soared more than 500 points earlier in the day, ended the session with a loss of 318.71 points, or 2.62%, at 11,851.81, off the day's low of 11,809.40.

On Thursday, the index ended up 449.10 points, or 3.83%, at 12,170.52, coming off an early low of 11,361.34.

The index shed 16.3% in the week, the biggest weekly loss in about twelve years.

Materials shares tumbled, resulting in the Capped Materials index losing 5.74%. Shares from telecommunications, industrial, financial, information technology and utilities were the other major losers.

Healthcare and energy stocks ended mostly in positive territory, but well off the day's highs. Real estate, consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks ended mixed.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada said retail sales in Canada rose 0.4% over a month earlier in January 2020, following an upwardly revised 0.2% in the previous month. Economists expected retail sales to see a 0.3% rise.

Retail Sales in Canada increased 3.4% in January, compared with the same month last year.

U.S. stocks ended sharply lower. The major averages all ended with sharp losses. The Dow plunged 4.55%, the S&P 500 declined 4.34% and the Nasdaq plummeted 3.79%.

Markets across Europe ended mostly higher. Among the major markets in Europe, Germany and France closed sharply higher and the U.K. ended with modest gains, while the Swiss market settled notably lower.

Most of the markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed on a positive note on Friday.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $2.69, or about 11%, at $22.53 a barrel on expiration day.

WTI Crude oil futures later sank deeper to $19.46, losing more than 22%.

Gold futures for April ended up $5.30, or about 0.4%, at $1,484.60 an ounce, after scaling a high of $1,519.40 and a low of $1,457.50 an ounce. Gold futures lost about 2.1% in the week, posting their second straight weekly loss.

Silver futures for May ended higher by $0.251 at $12.385 an ounce today, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.1715 per pound, down $0.0140 from previous close.

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