Health-care Hampers Stocks in Toronto

Energy Stocks Also Falter

CORRECTS MARKET CLOSE FIGURES FROM TORONTO

Canada's main stock index lost ground on Wednesday as the health-care sector tumbled, led by losses in cannabis shares on their first legal day of sale.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index stayed lower 52.63 points to greet the closing bell Wednesday at 15,527.11

The Canadian dollar handed back 0.47 cents to 76.84 cents U.S.

Canada became the first industrialized nation to legalize recreational cannabis on Wednesday but a legal buzz will be hard to come by in its biggest cities as some, including Toronto and Vancouver, will have no stores open.

Aurora Cannabis fell 24 cents, or 1.7%, to $13.74. The company said its Aurora Sky production plant was granted a sales license by Canada's health-care regulator. Canopy Growth shares slumped $2.82, or 4.1%, to $65.88.

Ironically, rival Aphria actually gained 96 cents, or 5.1%, to $19.65.

In the energy sector, Suncor doffed 43 cents to $47.23, while Canadian Natural Resources lost 70 cents, or 1.8%, to $37.27.

The tech sector got rocked, as Shopify dropped $9.49, or 5%, to $179.42, while Constellation Software hurtled lower $18.04, or 2%, to $909.10.

Financials did their best to pick up the slack, as Manulife Financial improved 47 cents, or 2.3%, to $20.53, while Royal Bank of Canada gained 18 cents to $99.84.

In the communications field, Rogers vaulted 54 cents to $67.07, while BCE crept up six cents to $51.85

Among utilities, Fortis Inc increased 36 cents to $42.22.

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales in this country fell 0.4% to $58.6 billion in August, following three consecutive monthly increases. The decline was mainly due to lower motor vehicle sales.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange sank 7.2 points, or 1%, to 692.61

All but three of the 12 subgroups remained in the red, with health-care docking 2.1%, and energy stocks falling 1.8%, and information technology 1.7% to the bad.

The three gainers were financials, up 0.4%, while communications nosed up 0.3%, and utilities edged up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell in volatile trading Wednesday after a summary of the Federal Reserve's most-recent meeting showed the central bank was leaning toward more rate hikes moving forward.

The Dow Jones Industrials fell 91.74 points to close at 25,706.68

The S&P 500 let go of 0.71 points to 2,809.21

The NASDAQ was down 2.79 points to 7,642.70

The major averages all fell at least 1% earlier in the session.

According to the minutes from the Fed's September meeting, the central bank remains convinced it needs to tighten monetary policy to keep the economy steady.

Goldman Sachs rose 3.1% while Morgan Stanley also surged 3.1%. Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup all rose more than 1%.

Netflix posted third-quarter earnings that easily beat expectations. The big beat was driven by stronger-than-expected subscriber growth in both the U.S. and overseas. Its stock rose 3.6%.

Overall, the earnings season is off to a good start. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported thus far, 88.5% have topped analyst expectations

CSX and Cree also reported better-than-expected earnings Tuesday after the close, while M&T Bank and U.S. Bancorp's results topped estimates Wednesday before the bell.

However, a weaker-than-expected report from IBM sent the stock down more than 6% and reignited worries about earnings moving forward.

On the data front, housing starts fell 5.3% last month, more than expected. The data sent housing stocks lower, as Home Depot and Lowe's both fell more than 3%, while KB Home dipped 2.8% and Lennar fell 2.7%.

Housing stocks have been under pressure for the past month. The iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB) is down more than 10% for October at the same time interest rates have jumped.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury sagged, raising yields to 3.2% from Tuesday’s 3.16%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.92 at $70 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices dipped $4.60 an ounce to $1,226.40