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CANADA STOCKS-TSX retreats on weakness in healthcare shares, glum China data

·2-min read

(Updates prices, adds comment)

By Amal S

Oct 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped on Monday from record highs in the previous session on weakness in healthcare stocks fueled by pot producers and dour economic data from China.

At 9:42 a.m. ET (13:42 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 53.03 points, or 0.25%, at 20,875.07, weighed down by a more than 1% slide in healthcare stocks.

Leading declines on the healthcare sub-sector index were pot producers Tilray Inc and Canopy Growth Corp, both down 1.9% and 1.8%, respectively.

The benchmark index hit a record high of 20,928.10 on Friday, on the back of higher oil prices and hopes of a seasonally strong period for the market.

Canadian stocks also tracked a dip in global equities on Monday after data showed slower-than-expected growth in China last quarter.

Gross domestic product in the Asian powerhouse grew 4.9% in the July-September period from a year earlier, its weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020.

"I think everyone is looking at Friday and wondering how much of the strength was contributed by options expiring, and just resetting, but also feels like a little bit of profit taking after some really dramatic record highs," said Gregory Taylor, portfolio manager at Purpose.

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.7% as gold prices slipped on a stronger dollar and rising U.S. bond yields.

Limiting losses was the energy group, up 1.2%, tracking a more than 1% jump in oil prices and extending its gains for the third straight session.

After snapping a seven-month winning streak in September, the Canadian equity index has gained 4.3% so far this month, aided by strength in commodity prices and hopes of a steady economic recovery.

Canadian housing starts fell 4.4% in September compared with the previous month as groundbreaking decreased on multiple unit and single-detached urban homes, data from the national housing agency showed.

Meanwhile, official data showed that foreign investors bought a net C$26.30 billion ($21.21 billion) in Canadian securities in August, the most since April 2020.

HIGHLIGHTS

Uranium miner Denison Mines Corp and miner Hudbay Minerals Inc were the biggest decliners on the TSX.

The TSX posted seven new 52-week highs and two new lows.

Across all Canadian issues there were 45 new 52-week highs and 19 new lows, with total volume of 40.13 million shares. (Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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