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TSX Settles Notably Lower As Virus Fears Rise

After a weak start and a subsequent spell in positive territory amid alternate bouts of buying and selling in key stocks, the Canadian market tumbled into the red past mid-afternoon on Tuesday to eventually end the session notably lower.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which rose to 15,717.72 from an early low of 15,582.44, ended the day at 15,595.50, recording a loss of 74.17 points or 0.47%.

But for some strong gains in the materials space thanks to a surge in gold prices, the market may well have ended the session with more pronounced losses today. The Capped Materials Index surged up 2.01%.

Energy stocks tumbled amid concerns about outlook for energy demand. The Capped Energy Index dropped 2.58%. Financial, consumer discretionary and healthcare shares were among the other prominent losers.

In the energy section, Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO) and Arc Resources (ARX.TO) declined 5 to 7%.

Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) lost 2 to 3.5%.

Among the stocks in the Financial index, Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO), Onex Corp (ONEX.TO), CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO), Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) lost 2 to 3.5%. Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) also ended notably lower.

Healthcare stocks Cronos Group (CRON.TO), Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) and Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) ended lower by 2.2 to 2.7%.

Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO), down 5.2%, was the biggest loser in the consumer discretionary index. Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO), Brp Inc. (DOO.TO), Aritzia Inc (ATZ.TO), Martinrea International (MRE.TO), Great Canadian Gaming Corp (GC.TO) and Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO) lost 2.8 to 4%.

In the materials space, Novagold (NG.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Alamos Gold (AGI.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO), SSR Mining (SSRM.TO), Alacer Gold (ASR.TO), Oceanagold (OGC.TO), Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO) and B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) gained 4 to 6%.

Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO), Pan American Silver (PAAS.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Lunding Gold (LUG.TO) also rose sharply.

Information technology stock Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained more than 2%. Blackberry (BB.TO) lost nearly 4% and Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) shed about 3.4%.

U.S. stocks ended notably lower amid renewed worries about the coronavirus pandemic after WHO officials warned about more casualties due to the infection. The Dow declined 1.5%, the Nasdaq slumpe 0.9% and the S&P 500 tumbled 1.1%.

European markets too ended notably lower, while markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August settled at $40.62 a barrel, down just a penny from previous close.

Gold futures for August ended up $16.40 or about 0.9% at $1,809.90 an ounce, the best finish since September 16, 2011.

Silver futures for September moved up $0.117 or 0.6% to $18.699 an ounce, while Copper futures for September gained $0.0225 or 0.8% to settle at $2.7970 per pound.

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