Toronto market in triple-digit decline, US markets fall sharply - NEWS 95.7
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Toronto market in triple-digit decline, US markets fall sharply

Last Updated Feb 2, 2018 at 6:20 pm AST

The Canadian dollar was trading at 80.69 cents US, down from Thursday's average price of 81.38 cents US. Canadian dollars coins are shown with U.S dollars bills in Montreal on April 6, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canada’s main stock index plummeted more than 250 points Friday, down 4 per cent over the past week, in a broad-based decline that included drops in every sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 254.89 points to 15,606.03 today.

The last such drop was more than seven months ago when it lost about 269 points on May 17, 2017.

While all sectors finished Friday in the red, shares in health care saw the steepest losses of an average 6.18 per cent.

Cannabis stocks led the decline in the sector, with Canopy Growth Corp. dropping $3.44 or 12.49 per cent to $24.11, while Aphria Inc. shares fell $1.60 or 10.34 per cent to $13.88. Both were among the top three worst performing shares on the TSX Friday.

Aphria’s losses came the same day it announced a $20-million deal to sell its stake in an Arizona cannabis company to an affiliated U.S. firm. The Canadian licensed marijuana producer is looking to reduce its direct involvement in medical pot in the U.S.

Things weren’t any better south of the border.

The Dow Jones industrial average shed 665.75 points to 25,520.96. The S&P 500 index lost 59.85 points to 2,762.13 and the Nasdaq composite index slipped 144.91 points to 7,240.95.

“(The market) was priced to perfection, meaning certainly not a cheap market, so you would expect that any major negative news would be badly taken,” said Patrick Blais, a managing director and senior portfolio manager at Manulife Investments.

Investor mindsets are shifting to realize that interest rates in the U.S. will go higher and likely at a quicker rate than originally anticipated, he said, which means all asset values probably need to be reassessed to the downside.

“Maybe the market needs to temper its bullishness on valuations,” he said.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 80.78 cents US, down 0.60 of a U.S. cent.

The March crude contract fell 35 cents to US$65.45 per barrel and the March natural gas contract slipped by a penny to roughly US$2.85 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract dropped US$10.60 to US$1,337.30 an ounce and the March copper contract lost about 2.2 cents to roughly US$3.19 a pound.

Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter

Companies in this story: (TSX:WEED, TSX:APH)

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