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TSX falls to 9-day low as commodity prices slide

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TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday to its lowest closing level in nine days, tracking weakness in oil and metal prices as investors worried about the path of U.S. interest rates and demand in major commodity consumer China.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 73.38 points, or 0.4%, at 19,884.58, its lowest closing level since Nov. 8.

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Wall Street’s S&P 500 stock index also fell as hawkish comments from a U.S. Federal Reserve official and data showing the labor market remained tight led some investors to worry about more aggressive interest rate hikes.

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The Toronto market’s energy sector fell 0.6% as the price of oil settled 4.6% lower at $81.64 a barrel, pressured by rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in China.

The materials, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.2% as gold and copper prices fell, while technology, which tends to be particularly sensitive to the outlook for interest rates, ended 1.8% lower.

Helping to limit the index’s decline was a gain for Restaurant Brands International. Its shares rose 4.4% after the China operator of the company’s Tim Hortons coffee chain said it had forged a two-year partnership with Alibaba Group’s grocery chain.

“I think Restaurant Brands is still one of the better run companies in Canada and probably is very keen to add some exposure to China and Alibaba could help with that,” said Greg Taylor, a portfolio manager at Purpose Investments. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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