CANADA STOCKS-TSX lower as U.S.-China trade tensions mount

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday, as anxious investors awaited the outcome of U.S.-China trade talks amid signs that negotiations were turning sour as Washington readies tariffs on Chinese goods.

* Investors across the globe switched to a risk-off mode this week after President Donald Trump threatened to double down tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Sunday, with Washington following it up by setting a trigger on Friday.

* Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was heading to Washington for two days of talks, but Trump’s insistence that China “broke the deal” and Beijing’s response that it would retaliate against tariffs ratcheted up the stakes.

* In domestic data, Canada’s trade deficit in March shrank slightly to C$3.21 billion ($2.38 billion) but was still the 12th largest on record, underscoring the headwinds still facing exporters.

* At 10:19 a.m. ET (14:19 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 89.71 points, or 0.55 percent, at 16,307.69. The index is down more than 1 percent so far this week.

* Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. The healthcare index fell 2.75 percent, dragged lower by a 8.3 percent slide in Cronos Group Inc after quarterly results.

* Heavyweight energy sector dropped 0.9 percent and financial sector slipped 0.5 percent.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, rose 0.7 percent as gold prices firmed amid flight to safer assets.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was gaming company Stars Group Inc, which jumped 18.2 percent after Fox Corp said it would buy a 5 percent stake.

Miner Franco-Nevada Corp gained 6.8 percent after reporting results and announcing changes at its board.

* Toymaker Spin Master Corp fell 10.4 percent, the most on the TSX, and auto parts maker Magna International Inc dropped 8.4 percent after quarterly results.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis Inc and Crescent Point Energy Corp.

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

* Across all Canadian issues there were four new 52-week highs and nine new lows, with total volume of 30.61 million shares.

* On the TSX, 85 issues were higher, while 150 issues declined for a 1.76-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 19.14 million shares traded. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)