March 27, 2020 / 2:29 PM / 4 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX set to snap 3-day winning streak as coronavirus crisis deepens

(Updates prices, adds background)

March 27 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index looked set to snap a three-day winning streak on Friday as concerns over the rapid spread of the coronavirus outweighed optimism around a stimulus package, while a decline in oil prices dragged energy stocks lower.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 601.95 points, or 4.5%, to 12,769.22 by 9:44 a.m. ET (1344 GMT).

All of the index’s 11 major sectors declined, with the energy sector dropping 9% as crude prices tumbled on dwindling demand.

U.S. crude prices were down 3.9% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 4.8%.

However, a strong run in the last three sessions has put the index on track for its first weekly gain after four straight weeks of declines.

Canada almost doubled the value of an aid package to C$52 billion to help people and businesses deal with losses from the outbreak, but optimism around the measures were short lived.

Investors also looked past the Bank of Canada’s move to slash its key overnight interest by 50 basis points for the third time this month, cutting the rate to the lowest in more than a decade.

The financials sector slipped 5.3% and industrials fell 3.6%.

On the TSX, seven issues were higher, while 223 issues declined for a 31.86-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 38.58 million shares traded.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were shares of cannabis producers Aurora Cannabis, which jumped 19.8%, followed by Hexo Corp, which rose 11.6%.

Among other firms, Lululemon Athletica Inc beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly results on Thursday, lifted by strong holiday season demand, but the athletic apparel maker did not give a full-year forecast as the coronavirus fuels uncertainty.

Chorus Aviation fell 20%, the most on the TSX, while Freehold Royalties, slipped 13.6%.

The most heavily-traded shares by volume were those of Aurora Cannabis, Green Organic Dutchman, and Bombardier.

The TSX posted no new 52-week high and four new lows.

Across all Canadian issues, there were no new 52-week high and 11 new lows, with total volume of 62.76 million shares. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Uttaresh.V)

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