December 4, 2018 / 12:51 PM / 14 days ago

TSX drops on fall in healthcare shares, fading trade hopes

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Tuesday, led by healthcare shares, while market sentiment was hurt by fading hopes of a swift resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Businessmen pass the Toronto Stock Exchange sing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

At 9:34 a.m. ET (14:34 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 41.76 points, or 0.27 percent, at 15,233.22.

The healthcare sector fell 3.1 percent, the most among the 11 major sectors.

Aphria Inc plunged over 20 percent, extending losses from the previous session. The cannabis producer defended its Latin American operations from claims in a short-seller report on Monday that the company had overpaid for assets.

Bank of Montreal fell 1.1 percent, after Canada’s fourth-biggest lender reported fourth-quarter earnings, ending a mixed earnings season for Canada’s biggest banks.

The financials sector edged down 0.5 percent.

The energy sector dropped 0.1 percent as U.S. crude prices pared gains to trade up 0.3 percent per barrel, while Brent crude added 1 percent.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.3 percent as gold futures edged up 0.4 percent to $1,238.4 an ounce.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Trican Well Service, which surged 9.9 percent as Raymond James raised rating on its stock to “strong buy” from “outperform”.

Second biggest gainer was Teck Resources B, which rose 3.2 percent, after the mining company agreed to sell a 30 percent stake in its Quebrada Blanca copper mine expansion project in northern Chile to Japan’s Sumitomo for $1.2 billion.

Aphria Inc declined the most on the TSX, while the second biggest decliner was Osisko Gold Royalties, down 3 percent.

The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aphria Inc, Trican Well Svc and Aurora Cannabis.

On the TSX, 73 issues were higher, while 165 issues declined for a 2.26-to-1 ratio to the downside, with volume touching 12.38 million shares.

The TSX posted two new 52-week highs and four new lows.

Across all Canadian issues, there were four new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, with total volume touching 18.71 million shares.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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