Canadian stocks were down in negative territory Tuesday morning, led by losses in the energy section following a significant drop in crude oil prices.
Uncertainty about a potential U.S.-China trade deal too weighed on stocks.
Shares from industries and consumer staples sectors too exhibited weakness, while healthcare stocks rebounded from recent sharp losses. Materials shares were finding some support. Technology and financial shares were mostly subdued.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 35.70 points, or 0.21%, at 16,989.41 in late morning trades.
Encana Corp (ECA.TO) declined 4.3%. Baytex Energy Corp (BTE.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) and Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) lost 1 to 3.2%.
Among the stocks in the Capped Industrials Index, Ballard Power Systems Inc. (BLDP.TO) plunged nearly 11%
SNC-Lavalin (SNC.TO) declined 5.5%, Westshore Terminals (WTE.TO) was down 3.1% and Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) shed 2.9%. Mullen Group (MTL.TO), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) and Ats Automation (ATA.TO) were down 1.6 to 2.5%.
Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) shares were down 1.1%. According to reports, more than 3,200 Canadian National Railway conductors, train persons and yard workers are likely to go on strike just after midnight tonight in a job action that would affect freight services if a deal isn't reached with the company.
Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO), up 8.5%, was the top gainer in the Healthcare Index. Aphria (APHA.TO) declined 8%, Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) was down 5%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) shed 3.7% and Cronos Group Inc (CRON.TO) was down 1.6%.
George Weston Ltd. (WN.TO) reported a profit of $69 million, or 44 cents per diluted share for the third quarter, compared with a profit of $51 million, or 40 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. The stock was modestly higher.
U.S. stocks retreated after early gains and the major averages were modestly higher a few minutes ahead of noon.
European markets saw some hectic buying midway through the session, but lost their way subsequently and finally ended mostly lower.