The Canadian stock market opened on a firm note on Wednesday, but kept edging lower and lower as the session progressed and eventually closed in negative territory, weighed down by losses in technology and healthcare shares.
Energy stocks rose sharply, tracking higher crude oil prices. Materials shares found modest support. Financial and consumer discretionary stocks turned in a mixed performance.
Higher crude oil prices and expectations of huge stimulus spending contributed to the gains early on in the session, but the market failed to sustain at higher levels as investors appeared a bit reluctant to add on to long positions.
Worries about spikes in coronavirus cases in several countries and slow pace of vaccination drive in Canada weighed on sentiment.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which hit a fresh record high at 19,312.30, ended the session at 19,171.66 with a loss of 32.04 points or 0.17%.
The Capped Energy Index surged up 4.01%. MEG Energy (MEG.TO) and Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) gained about 10% and 9%, respectively. Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) were among the other major gainers in the section.
Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO), up 9.5%, was the top gainer in the Materials Index. Lundin Mining (LUN.TO), Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) and Nutrien (NTR.TO) gained 4.2 to 6.3%.
Technology stocks Hut 8 Mining Corp (HUT.TO) and Shopify Inc (SHOP.TO) ended lower by 6.1% and 5.1%, respectively. Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) slid 3.1% and Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) shed about 2.2%.
Among healthcare stocks, Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO) lost 11%. Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) ended 4% down, while Chartwell Retirement Residences (CSH.UN.TO), Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) and Cronos Group (CRON.TO) lost 2 to 2.7%.
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