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TSX Falters After Positive Start, Ends On Weak Note

Despite opening on a positive note, the Canadian stock market lost momentum and slipped into negative territory Thursday morning, and stayed weak right till the end to finish notably lower.

Materials, healthcare, information technology and consumer discretionary stocks drifted lower, while a few stocks from energy and financial sectors moved up a bit and limited market's downside.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which hit a fresh record high at 19,439.82 in early trades, ended the day with a loss of 101.03 points or 0.52% at 19,255.92, more than 30 points off the session's low.

The Capped Materials Index shed nearly 2%. Methanex Corp (MX.TO) tumbled by about 9%. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.07, up from $0.10 in the year-ago period and equal to the consensus estimate.

Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Lundin Mining (LUN.TO), MAG Silver Corp (MAG.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Silvercrest Metals (SIL.TO) and Canfor Corp (CFP.TO) ended lower by 3 to 4%. Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) also ended sharply lower.

Healthcare stocks Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO), Aphria Inc (APHA.TO) and Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) declined 5.4%, 4% and 3.1%, respectively.

Among technology stocks, Hut 8 Mining (HUT.TO) plunged 8.6%. Shopify Inc (SHOP.TO), Tecsys Inc (TCS.TO), Celestica Inc (CLS.TO), BlackBerry (BB.TO) and Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) lost 2.7 to 5%.

Consumer discretionary stocks Magna International (MG.TO), Linamar Corp (LNR.TO), Martinrea International (MRE.TO) and Aritzia Inc (ATZ.TO) closed lower by 2.5 to 3.4%.

Telecom stock BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) gained about 0.5%. The company reported first quarter adjusted EPS of $0.78 compared to $0.79, prior year. First quarter net earnings to shareholders was $642 million, down 5.6% from prior year.

In economic news, data released by Statistics Canada showed average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees in Canada grew 9% year-on-year to C$ 1,140 in February, the largest gain since last June.

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