World Markets

Canadian Shares Edging Lower On Global Growth Worries

( - The Canadian stock market is edging lower Thursday morning, with investors treading cautiously amid renewed worries about global growth after the European Union lowered its forecast for Eurozone growth for the current year and 2020.

Weak crude oil prices has triggered a sell-off at several counter in the energy space.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is down 43.81 points, or 0.27%, at 15,668.50.

Healthcare stocks are edging up after recent losses. Consumer discretionary stocks are weak, while financial, industrial, consumer staples and materials stocks are turning in a mixed performance.

The Capped Energy Index is down by about 1%. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is down 1.2%, Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) is easing 1.6%, ARC Resources (ARX.TO) is down 1.5% and Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) is declining 2.2%. PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and Tourmaline Oil Corporation (TOU.TO) are also notably lower.

The Capped Healthcare Index is rising 1.7%. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) is gaining 3%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is up 4.5%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) is jumping 8%, Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) is advancing 2.6%, The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) is rising 1.75% and Aphria (APHA.TO) is up 1.05%.

Meanwhile, Bausch Health Companies Inc. (BHC.TO), Knight Therapeutics (GUD.TO) and Extendicare (EXE.TO) are down with sharp to moderate losses.

Energy stocks Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) are down 2.4% and 2.8%, respectively.

In the materials space, B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO) and IAM Gold (IMG.TO) are down 1% and 3.3%, respectively. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) is rising more than 3% and Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) is up 1.05%.

Among industrials shares, Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) is rising nearly 6%, extending gains from previous session.

Crius Energy Trust (KWH.UN) units are gaining 37% after Vistra Energy and Crius Energy Trust announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement as per which Vistra will acquire Crius Energy for cash consideration of C$7.57 per trust unit.

U.S. stocks are notably lower amid global growth worries. The Dow is down 0.8%, the S&P 500 is declining nearly 1% and the Nasdaq is lower by 1.07%.

On the U.S. economic front, a report from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits pulled back less than expected in the week ended February 2nd after the jump seen in the previous week.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 234,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 253,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 221,000.

Markets across Europe are exhibiting weakness. Among the major markets in Europe, Germany is down 1.8%, France is lower by about 1% and the U.K. is down 0.33%.

The European Commission slashed its GDP growth forecast for 2019 to 1.3% from 1.9% and lowered its estimate for growth in 2020 to 1.6% from 1.7%.

The downgrade reflected external factors, such as trade tensions and the slowdown in emerging markets, notably in China. Officials warned that the European outlook faces substantial risks due to the uncertainty about Brexit and the slowdown in China.

Preliminary figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed that Germany's industrial production decreased by a calendar and seasonally-adjusted 0.4% in December, falling for a fourth consecutive month. In November, it decreased 1.3%, revised from 1.9%. Economists had expected a 0.8% increase in December.

The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England left the bank's key interest rate unchanged at 0.75% and said that the slowdown in economic growth continued at the start of this year.

Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday amid mild optimism about upcoming crucial U.S.-China trade talks in Beijing next week.

In commodities, crude oil futures for March are down $0.64, or 1.2%, at $53.35 a barrel.

Gold futures for April are down $3.40, or 0.26%, at 1,311.00 an ounce.

Silver futures for March are down $0.031, or 0.2%, at $15.670 an ounce, while Copper futures for March are gaining $0.0085, or 0.3%, $2.8450 per pound.

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