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Canadian Stocks Exhibiting Weakness In Cautious Trade

The Canadian market was notably lower Thursday noon due to heavy selling in materials and energy stocks, amid concerns about near term economic outlook.

Worries about U.S.-China tensions too weighed on the market. Investors were also reacting to data on private sector jobs and housing prices in Canada.

Industrial and consumer staples shares were the other prominent losers, while shares from healthcare sector moved higher. Information technology, financial and consumer discretionary stocks were turning in a mixed performance this morning.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which tumbled more than 200 points to 14,783.88, staged a modest recovery and was down 121.59 points, or 0.8%, at 14,876.04 at noon.

On Wednesday, the index ended up 112.15 points, or 0.7%, at 14,997.63, gaining for a fourth straight session.

In the materials section, Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), Alacer Gold (ASR.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO) and Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO) lost 3 to 5%.

Among energy stocks, PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) tumbled 7.4%. Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) were down 3 to 4.5%.

In the healthcare section, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) soared nearly 25%. Cronos Group (CRON.TO) surged up 6.5%, Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) gained 4.5%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) moved up 3.6% and Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO) advanced 2%.

Among financial stocks, Fairfax Financial Holding (FFH.TO) moved up 1.5% and Genworth MI Canada (MIC.TO) gained 2.3%. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO) lost 1 to 1.7%.

Lightspeed POS Inc. (LSPD.TO) shares were up nearly 21% at noon. The company reported net loss of US$18.6 million for the quarter ended March 2020 compared with net loss of US$96.1 million a year ago when it took a one-time charge related to its preferred shares which converted into common shares ahead of its IPO.

On the economic front, data from ADP showed private businesses in Canada saw 226,700 job losses in April compared to 177,300 a month earlier.

Meanwhile, new housing prices in Canada were unchanged in April 2020, after rising 0.9% in the previous month. Economists had expected a 0.1% increase in new housing prices in April.

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