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S&P/TSX Composite Index

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Triple-Digit Tumble for TSX at Open

Stocks in Canada's largest market opened lower on Wednesday as a slowdown in U.S. factory activity continued to weigh on investor sentiment, while a decline in oil prices hit energy shares.

The TSX Composite Index plunged 131.60 points to begin Wednesday at 16,316.06

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.32 cents at 75.32 cents U.S.

Cenovus Energy lowered its spending forecast for the year and said it will raise its quarterly dividend, as the company focuses on giving more money back to shareholders.

Shares in Cenovus gave back 25 cents, or 2.1%, to $11.80.

Gambling group Flutter Entertainment is merging with Toronto-listed Stars Group in an all-share deal that will create one of the world's largest online betting and gaming operators. Stars Group shares rocketed $6.84, or 33.8%, to $27.09.

Scotiabank cut the rating on Canadian National Railway to sector perform from outperform. CN shares retreated $1.50, or 1.3%, to $113.26.

National Bank of Canada raised the target price on Air Canada to $57.00 from $55.00. Shares in the Maple Leaf airline descended 52 cents, or 1.2%, to $42.60.

National also cut the rating on Freehold Royalties to sector perform from outperform. Freehold shares dipped five cents to $7.20.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange lost 2.56 points to 552.35

Eight of the 12 Toronto subgroups faltered in the first hour, with health-care falling down the tunnel 4%, energy 1.5% less energetic, and financials off 1.4%.

The four gainers were led by gold, ahead 1.6%, materials, better by 0.5%, and consumer discretionary stocks, up 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, adding to Wall Street's poor start to the final quarter of 2019 as investors grapple with fears of an economic recession.

The Dow Jones Industrials plunged 288.15 points, or 1.1%, to 26,284.89, to break below its 50-day and 100-day moving averages, two technical levels watched by traders.

Dow Inc was the worst-performing stock on the 30-stock index, sliding 3%.

The S&P 500 slumped 34.05 points, or 1.2%, to 2,906.20, to fall below its 100-day moving average as the industrials sector dropped 1.5%. Eaton Corp and United Rentals were among the laggards in the sector. They both fell at least 2.9%.

The NASDAQ Composite stepped back 87.64 points, or 1.1% to 7,821.05, as large-cap tech companies followed the broader market lower. Facebook, Apple and Alphabet all dropped at least 1%. Amazon slid 0.9%.

Wall Street's focus remained on the economic data as private payrolls growth slowed down in September, according to a report from ADP and Moody's Analytics. Payrolls increased by 135,000 in September, a drop from 157,000 in August. The gains from August also reflected a downward revision of nearly 40,000 payrolls.

The data from ADP and Moody's Analytics is seen by investors as a preview to the government's monthly jobs report, which will be released Friday

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury were slightly higher, lowering yields to 1.63% from Tuesday's 1.64%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid 16 cents to $53.46 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained $8.80 to $1,497.80 U.S. an ounce.

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