Equities in Canada’s largest market fell to a more-than-seven-week low on Tuesday as the heavyweight energy sector was pulled down by
weaker oil prices for the second straight day.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index docked 107.68 points to greet noon at 15,987.04
The Canadian dollar fell 0.05 cents to 81.02 cents U.S.
Suncor Energy was the biggest drag on the index, down 1.4% at $44.88, while Canadian Natural Resources declined 1.9% to $42.84.
Shares of Thomson Reuters bucked the downward trend, up 10.3% at $59.13 after sources said Blackstone Group was in advanced talks to buy a majority stake in a key Thomson Reuters unit.
Gold producers also helped temper the Toronto market's overall weakness, as Barrick Gold rose 0.6% to $17.78.
Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Aurora Cannabis, down 7.5% at $11.99; Bombardier down 4.7% at $3.43 and Canopy Growth, down 7.2% at $30.72.
U.S. President Donald Trump's trade chief rejected Canadian proposals for unblocking North American Free Trade Agreement modernization talks on Monday but pledged to seek "breakthroughs" by late February, easing concerns that Washington would soon withdraw from the trilateral pact.
The TSX Venture Exchange plunged 18.92 points to 860.26
All but one of 12 TSX subgroups were lower midday, with health-care fading 3.8%, energy, ditching 2.1%, and real-estate, sliding 1%.
Financials were unchanged at noon.
U.S. stocks traded sharply lower on Tuesday, falling for a second day as the first major selloff of the New Year intensified.
The Dow Jones industrial average swooned 322.93 points, or 1.2%, to 26,116.55, with UnitedHealth as the biggest decliner. The 30-stock index was also on track for its biggest two-day point drop since September 2016.
The S&P 500 slumped 26.82 points to 2,826.74, with health-care and energy as the worst-performing sectors.
The NASDAQ came off its lows of the morning, but remained in the red 57.6 points to 7,408.91
Shares of UnitedHealth were the worst performers on the Dow, falling 3%. UnitedHealth fell after Amazon, J.P. Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway announced plans to partner on ways to cut health-care costs. Express Scripts' stock, meanwhile, was among the biggest laggards in the S&P 500, dropping 6.7%.
In economic news, consumer confidence rose to 125.4 in January as Americans expect the U.S. economic momentum from 2017 to carry over into the New Year.
The Federal Reserve kicked off its latest two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. Experts’ market expectations for a rate hike are just 5.2%.
Elsewhere, President Donald Trump is expected to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell back, raising yields to 2.71% from Monday’s 2.69%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices backtracked $1.20 a barrel to $64.36 U.S.
Gold prices leaned lower two dollars to $1,343.10 U.S. an ounce.