Canada Stocks Lose Near 140 Pts Today, Near 400 Pts For the Week; Cannabis Stocks Light Up Local Trade

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Canada’s main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, on Friday closed down near 141 points or 0.95% at 14,795.13, adding to the 245 points or 1.6% lost yesterday, to end a roller coaster week — one that saw the TSX down just 10 points after the first three business days of up, down and up again moves — down by nearly 400 points in all.

As has been the case for much of the week, overseas events and data dictated direction most on Friday, with trade tensions between the U.S. and China continuing, and a tariff war between them possible. In recent days the possibility of a rift between Canada and China got more real given events around the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who is being prosecuted for fraud.

But on the domestic front, as has been the case for much of the week too, it was the cannabis sector that lit up proceedings. NYSE-listed Altria Inc., the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, said Friday it will spend $2.4 billion for a 45% stake in Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO, CRON). That comes after Constellation Brands Inc. in August made a $5 billion investment in Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED.TO, CGC).

Cronos took some of the spotlight off another cannabis player, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO, APHA), which has been accused of buying several Latin American assets at allegedly “vastly inflated” prices.

Among commodities, gold futures closed up US$9.00, +0.7%, at $1,252.60 per ounce. But of greater influence on the commodities heavy index — and, perhaps, helping to cap losses today a bit given much larger declines for the Dow in the States — oil prices climbed on Friday after OPEC and Russia agreed to 1.2 million barrel per day of production cuts to dampen oversupply worries as the global economy cools. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery settled up US$1.12 to US$52.61 per barrel while February Brent crude was last seen up US$1.43 to US$61.49. With Friday’s gains, West Texas Intermediate was up 3.3% on the week, even as prices moderated from day highs of $54.22 as the market assessed the impact of the cuts, with 800,000 bpd coming from OPEC and 400,000 from Russia and its allies.

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