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TSX Settles Lower Again As U.S.-China Tensions, Growth Concerns Weigh

The Canadian stock market slipped a bit deeper into the red after a weak start, and despite recovering some lost ground as the day progressed, ended the session modestly lower on Friday.

Lingering worries about growth amid the spread of the coronavirus, and growing tensions between the U.S. and China rendered the mood cautious. Some disappointing earnings reports too prevented investors from making significant moves.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which slipped to 15,928.42 early on in the session ended with a loss of 21.59 points or 0.13% at 15,997.06.

Recording losses in three of the five sessions, the TSX shed 0.78% in the week.

Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) declined 5.5%. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) shed 2.7%. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) lost 1 to 1.45%.

Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO), Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) and CGI Group (GIB.A.TO) also ended notably lower.

Materials stocks rose sharply, as gold futures set a new closing high on safe-haven appeal. The Capped Materials Index surged up 2.05%.

Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) spurted more than 9%.

Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO) rallied 5.6%, while Semafo (SMF.TO), Lundin Gold (LUG.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) gained 4 to 5%. Iamgold (IMG.TO), Pan American Silver Corp (PAAS.TO), Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Alacer Gold (ASR.TO), Canfor Corp (CFP.TO), Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO), Silvercorp Metals (SVM.TO) and Kinross Gold (K.TO) also rose sharply.

Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) were among the other notable gainers in the session.

U.S. stocks ended lower, due largely to the escalation in tensions with China. The Dow slid 0.7%, the Nasdaq slumped 0.9% and the S&P 500 fell 0.6%.

Markets in Europe and across the Asia-Pacific region also ended notably lower today.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for September ended higher by $0.22 or about 0.5% at $41.29 a barrel.

Gold futures for August ended up $7.50 or about 0.4% at $1,897.50 an ounce, a new all-time cloing high. The contract touched a high of $1,904.60 an ounce in the session. The previous record closing high was $1,891.90, touched on 22 August 2011.

Gold futures gained about 4.8% in the week, the best weekly returns in more than three-and-a-half months.

Silver futures for September settled at $22.850 an ounce, down $0.138 from previous close, while Copper futures for September ended down $0.0460 at $2.8925 per pound.

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