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TSX Ends Sharply Lower On Growth Concerns, Virus Jitters

The Canadian stock market ended sharply lower on Wednesday due to widespread selling after report showed a sharp surge in new coronavirus infections in the U.S. and several other countries.

The market also reacted to the International Monetary Fund's outlook for the global economy for the current year and the next.

The IMF has sharply lowered its forecast for global growth this year. It predicts that the global economy will shrink 4.9% this year, significantly worse than the 3% drop it had estimated in its previous report in April. It would be the worst annual contraction since immediately after the Second World War.

For the United States, the IMF predicts that gross domestic product will fall as much as 8% this year, even more than its April estimate of a 5.9% drop.

For Canada, which counts the United States as its biggest trading partner, the IMF estimates GDP will contract 8.4% this year.

Energy stocks were the most prominent losers. Healthcare, financial, industrial, materials and consumer discretionary stocks too mostly ended with sharp losses. Information technology stocks were weak as well, while consumer staples shares bucked the trend and edged higher.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which plunged about 420 points to a low of 15,144.42, ended the day with a loss of 270.37 points or 1.74% at 15,294.30.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Nutrien (NTR.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO), TC Energy (TRP.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) lost 2.5 to 4.6%.

Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) also ended notably lower.

Loblaw Companies (L.TO), Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.A.TO), Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.TO), Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO) and Maxar Technologies (MAXR.TO) posted strong gains.

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower, hurt by spiking number of new coronavirus cases in several U.S. states. During congressional testimony on Tuesday, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned of a "disturbing surge" in coronavirus infections.

The Dow plummeted 2.7%, the Nasdaq tumbled 2.2% and the S&P 500 plunged 2.6%.

Markets in Europe ended notably lower. Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended down $2.36 or about 5.8% at $38.01 a barrel.

Gold futures for August ended down $6.90 or about 0.4% at $1,775.10 an ounce, well off the day's high of $1,796.10.

On Tuesday, gold futures for August ended up $15.60 or about 0.8% at $1,782.00 an ounce, the highest close since early October 2012.

Silver futures for July settled lower by $0.393 or about 2.2% at $17.670 an ounce, while Copper futures settled at $2.6505 per pound, losing $0.0080 or 0.3%.

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