Stocks in Canada's largest centre sustained sharp losses on Thursday, as oil prices pulled down energy shares, while the Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz predicted that low oil prices would hurt the country's economic growth.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index faltered 245.64 points, or 1.6%, to close Thursday at 14,937.
The Canadian dollar dropped 0.07 cents to 74.76 U.S.
Energy stocks proved the chief agent of all the commotion, as Suncor docked $2.91, or 6.6%, to $41.11, while Imperial Oil backpedaled $1.72, or 4.4%, to $37.85.
Dollarama Inc fell $4.26, or 11.3%, to $33.53, after the discount store chain reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, as it faces stiff competition from U.S.-based Dollar Tree Inc. Also in consumer discretionary issues, Canadian Tire shed $2.24, or 1.5%, to $148.95.
In the industrial sector, Bombardier lost two cents to $2.18, while Canadian National Railway reversed three dollars, or 2.7%, to $108.30.
Health-care issues did their best to lift spirits, as Aphria jumped $2.39, or 47.8%, to $7.39, while Bausch Health Companies took on eight cents to $32.33.
In real-estate, units of Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust advanced 31 cents to $45.34
Communications stocks also headed north, as Rogers Communications gained 49 cents to $71.72, while rival Shaw Communications picked up 25 cents, or 1%, to $25.28.
On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported this country's exports fell 1.2% in October, while imports were down 0.6%. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world widened from $891 million in September to $1.2 billion in October.
Western University's IVEY School of Business reported that its Purchasing Managers Index for November registered at 57.2, below the reading of 61.8 for October, and 63 for November 2017.
The TSX Venture Exchange regained 2.97 points to 566.08.
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups ended the session negatively, as energy concerns bore lower 5.3%, while consumer discretionary stocks lost 2.6%, and industrials ducked 1.9%.
The five gainers were led by health-care, haler by 6.5%, real-estate, picking up 0.7%, and communications, up 0.3%.
Stocks closed well off their session lows on Thursday after news broke that the Federal Reserve could tighten monetary policy at a slower pace than previously expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average came to within 79.4 points of breakeven to finish at 24,947.67
The S&P 500 faded 4.11 points to 2,695.95,
The NASDAQ overcame heavy losses and actually gained 29.83 points to 7,188.26, as Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet all rose more than 1%.
The Wall Street Journal reported the central bank is considering whether to signal a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes at its upcoming meeting next month. The report said Fed officials do not know what their next move on rates will be after December
Shares of major banks like J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America all traded lower by more than 1.5%, on Thursday.
Apple's stock dropped 1.1% after UBS said in a note it sees the weakest “purchase intent ” for the iPhone in five years. The bank cut its 12-month price target on Apple to $210 from $225.
Trade fears ratcheted up after news broke Wednesday that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities in Vancouver, where she faces extradition to the U.S. The arrest — which took place Dec. 1 — decreases the likelihood that a permanent U.S.-China trade deal will be reached. Huawei is one of the largest mobile phone makers in the world.
Meng's arrest comes after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on implementing additional tariffs on each other's goods. The world's largest economies have been engaged in a trade spat that has sent ripples through global markets. The skirmish has investors worried that corporate earnings and economic growth could be negatively impacted.
The U.S. economy added 179,000 private jobs in November, below an estimate of 195,000, according to a report from ADP and Moody's Analytics. The report comes ahead of the government's monthly jobs report, which is scheduled for release Friday morning.
On Wednesday, U.S. equity, option and fixed income markets were closed in honour of former President George H.W. Bush.
Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury were marginally higher, lowering yields to 2.89% from Tuesday's 2.91%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices lost $1.20 to $51.69 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices added 90 cents to $1,243.50 U.S. an ounce.