Jan 21 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was set to end six sessions of gains on Tuesday, as energy and gold stocks fell against the backdrop of a global downturn in sentiment due to concerns over a virus outbreak in China.
* At 09:42 a.m. ET (14:42 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 54.06 points, or 0.31%, at 17,543.33, retreating from an all-time high hit in the last session.
* Markets worldwide fell after authorities in China confirmed that the new strain of coronavirus could spread through human contact, reporting 15 medical staff had been infected and a sixth person had died.
* Locally, data on Tuesday showed Canadian factory sales decreased by 0.6% in November from October on lower sales in primary metals.
* Investors focus will be on the Bank of Canada interest rate decision on Wednesday. A Reuters poll showed majority participants confident that monetary policy would remain unchanged this year as a revival in the Canadian economy may already be underway.
* The energy sector dropped 0.9% as U.S. crude prices were down 0.7% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.9%.
* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.3% as gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,555.1 an ounce. However, safe-haven demand capped losses for the yellow metal.
* The financials sector slipped 0.3%, while the industrials sector fell 0.6%.
* On the TSX, 59 issues were higher, while 168 issues declined for a 2.85-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 22.99 million shares traded.
* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Aphria Inc , which jumped 3.6%, after its unit got approval to supply medical cannabis in the European Union and as Alliance Global Partners initiated coverage with “buy”.
* Shares of fuel cell products maker Ballard Power fell 13.3%, the most on the TSX, followed by toymaker Spin Master Corp, down 13.1% after it said it expects a decline in 2019 gross product sales.
* The most heavily-traded shares by volume were Bombardier , down 0.8%, Royal Bank of Canada, down 0.2%, and Aphria Inc, up 3.6%.
* The TSX posted 7 new 52-week highs and one new low.
* Across all Canadian issues there were 43 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows, with total volume of 38.15 million shares.
Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni