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Energy Stocks Drag Down Canadian Market

After opening slightly up, the Canadian stock market retreated Wednesday morning, as several stocks from energy and consumer staples sections tumbled on selling pressure.

A few top stocks from materials and consumer discretionary sectors too posted notable losses, while healthcare stocks moved up sharply. Information technology, telecom, financial and industrial shares turned in a mixed performance.

Worries about continued rise in coronavirus cases weighed on stocks, while optimism about additional fiscal stimulus in the U.S. limited market's downside.

Canadian government announced that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least February 21. Blair said in a written statement that the latest extension to international travel restrictions has been made to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The travel restrictions prevent entry to most travelers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for "essential" reasons. The border closure initially took effect in March 2020.

A little past noon, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which opened at 18,008.73 and slipped to a low of 17,897.17 subsequently, was down 58.58 points or 0.33% at 17,927.22 a few minutes past noon.

Consumer staples stock Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.B.TO) shares plunged more than 10%. The company said Wednesday it made a non-binding offer of 20 euro ($30.97) a share for Europe's biggest retailer, Carrefour SA.

Jamieson Wellness (JWEL.TO) and The North West Company (NWC.TO) were down 1.1% and 1%, respectively.

In the energy section, Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO) and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) were down 2 to 4%. Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) slid 1.4 to 1.7%.

Among the stocks in the healthcare index, Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) was up 8.4%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained 8.2% and Cronos Group (CRON.TO) advanced 8%. Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL.TO), Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) gained 5 to 6%, while Sienna Senior Living (SIA.TO) was up 1.75%.

Among gainers from other sectors, Ballard Power Systems (BLDP.TO) was gaining about 8.5%. CNOOC Limited (CNU.TO) was up 8.2%, Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) advanced 6.5% and Docebo Inc. (DCBO.TO) gained 3%.

Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) shares were up nearly 2%. Bombardier Transportation said it has received an order for three additional BOMBARDIER OMNEO Regio 2N trains from French national rail operator SNCF. The order is part of the framework deal signed with SNCF in 2010 to supply up to 860 OMNEO Regio 2N trains to the French regions.

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