TSX falls as lower oil prices, weak retail sales data weigh

Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:08pm EST
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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Friday, led by a drop in health care, energy and financial sector stocks, as crude oil prices tumbled and domestic retail sales disappointed.

The health care group fell 3.7 percent. It included a 9.6 percent slide in the shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO: Quote) to C$117.00.

The energy group retreated 1.7 percent while the heavyweight financials group fell 0.5 percent, as domestic data showed signs of slowing consumer demand and growing inflationary pressures.

Signs of weaker economic growth has joined uncertainty related to energy loan books and an "overheated housing market," adding to investor concerns about bank stocks, according to Diana Avigdor, head of trading at Barometer Capital Management.

Banks begin to report quarterly earnings next week.

The concern is that each time they don't show deterioration in performance they are "pushing out the inevitable," said Avigdor.

Oil prices fell as record high U.S. crude stockpiles intensified worries that a plan to freeze world output will do little or nothing to reduce massive supplies already in the market. [O/R]

U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled at $29.64 a barrel, down 3.67 percent.   Continued...

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch