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TSX Fails To Hold Early Gains, Ends Moderately Lower

Despite seeing a positive spell early on in the session, the Canadian stock market faltered before noon and eventually ended on a negative note on Friday, led by losses in energy, healthcare and materials sections.

Shares from utilities section moved higher, while industrial, financial, technology and consumer discretionary stocks turned in a mixed performance.

Worries about continued surge in coronavirus cases across the world and fresh lockdown measures imposed in several countries raised concerns about economic recovery. A lack of positive development on the stimulus front hurt as well.

News about a potential coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer towards the end of November aided sentiment a bit, but investors were largely hesitant to make significant moves.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which advanced to 16,549.69 earlier in the day, ended with a loss of 62.28 points or 0.38% at 16,438.75 slightly off the session's low. The index shed 0.75% in the truncated week.

Among the stocks that moved on strong volumes, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) slipped 4.7% and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) declined 3.6%, while BlackBerry (BB.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and MEG Energy Corp (MEG.TO) lost 2 to 2.5%.

TC Energy Corporation (TRP.TO), Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) and Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO), Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), MTY Food Group (MTY.TO), Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) and Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) also ended sharply lower.

Among the gainers, Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.TO) advanced 5.3%. Maxar Technologies (MAXR.TO), Northland Power (NPI.TO) and Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) moved up 2.3 to 2.7%. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) ended nearly 1% up.

On the economic front, data released by Statistics Canada showed manufacturing sales in Canada slumped 2% over a month earlier to C$52.4 billion in the month of August, after rising by an upwardly revised 7.2% a month earlier. It was the first decline in manufacturing sales after three consecutive months of strong increases.

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