TSX Ends Lower For 2nd Straight Day

( - After opening slightly higher, led by gains in materials shares, the Canadian stock market turned weak and ended on a highly negative note on Thursday, amid rising concerns about global growth.

Markets in Asia and Europe tumbled and the U.S. market declined as well, with investors choosing to exit counters, reacting to the Federal Reserve's statement on Wednesday. The Fed, which raised its interest rate by 25 basis points, reiterated its commitment to tighten monetary policy, despite rising risks to growth. It forecast a couple of rate hikes in the first half of 2019.

Crude oil's sharp plunge, rising concerns about U.S.-China trade talks after the Justice Department announced the criminal indictment of two computer hackers associated with the Chinese government and weak economic data out of Europe, all contributed to Canadian market's decline.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended with a loss of 122.29 points, or 0.86%, at 14,141.77. The index scaled a low of 14,075.95 and a high of 14,341.72 in the session. On Wednesday, the index closed down by 152.83 points, or 1.06%, at 14,264.06.

Information technology, energy, healthcare and industrial shares were among the most prominent losers. Consumer discretionary, financial and consumer staples stocks too ended mostly lower.

Among the stocks in the Energy index, Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) and Crescent Point Energy Corp. (CPG.TO) lost 2 to 4%.

Among bank stocks, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) gained about 1% and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) added 1.5%. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Canaian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CD.TO) lost 0.5 - 0.8%.

Among the stocks in healthcare space, Bausch Health Companies Inc. (BHC.TO) declined by 4.75%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) ended 3.6% down, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) closed lower by 3%.

Information technology shares CGI Group Inc. (GIB.A.TO), Constellation Software Inc. (CSU.TO), Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Descartes Systems Group Inc. (DSG.TO) and Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) ended lower by 2.5 to 5%. BlackBerry (BB.TO) ended stronger by nearly 3%.

Among materials shares, Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO), Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV.TO), Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM.TO), Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM. TO) and Kirkland Lake Gold (KIRK.L.TO) gained 1 to 5%.

In economic news, Statistics Canada reported that wholesale sales rose 1% to $63.8 billion in October, more than offsetting the 0.7% decline in September.

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $1,009 in October, up 0.6% from the previous month. Compared with 12 months earlier, earnings increased by 2.5%.

U.S . shares declined sharply with global growth concerns and increased risk of a partial government shutdown triggering a sell-off.

The Dow plummeted 2%, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both shed about 1.6%.

In U.S. economic news, initial jobless claims rose to 214,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 206,000.

A report from Philadelphia Federal Reserve said manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region continued to grow but remained subdued in the month of December.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board released a report shortly after the start of trading showing an unexpected increase in leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of November.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index rose by 0.2 percent in November after falling by a revised 0.3 percent in October.

European markets drifted lower on growth worries. Bank of England policymakers unanimously left the key interest rate and asset purchase targets unchanged on Thursday, as expected. Brexit uncertainties have intensified considerably since the previous policy session and they are weighing on UK financial markets and on the near-term growth outlook, the bank said.

Asian markets ended mostly lower.

In commodities, Crude oil futures for February ended down $2.29, or 4.8%, at $45.88 a barrel, the lowest settlement in seventeen months.

Gold futures for February Gold futures for February ended up $11.50, or 0.9%, at $1,267.90, the highest settlement since June 25, 2018.

Silver futures for March settled at $14.869 an ounce, up $0.051 from previous close of $14.818 an ounce.

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