Sell-Off By Energy Stocks Weighs On Bay Street

(RTTNews) – With energy stocks seeing substantial weakness on the day, the Canadian market moved to the downside during trading on Friday.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index moved lower early in the session and remained in the red throughout the day, closing down 91.18 points or 0.4 percent at 20,515.24.

The weakness on Bay Street partly reflected ongoing concerns about the outlook for interest rates in the U.S. following this week’s batch of economic data.

Reports on U.S. consumer and producer price inflation and retail sales have led to worries the Federal Reserve could raise rates higher than currently anticipated.

Recent comments from Fed officials have added to the concerns, with some suggesting the central bank could raise rates by another 50 basis points next month.

Energy stocks led the way lower, with the S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index plunging by 3.5 percent on the day.

The weakness in the sector come as the price of crude oil for March delivery tumbled $2.15 or 2.7 percent to $76.34 a barrel a barrel amid concerns about the outlook for demand.

A modest decrease by the price of gold also weighed on gold stocks, dragging the S&P/TSX Global Gold Index down by 1.3 percent.

On the other hand, healthcare stocks showed a strong move to the upside, driving the S&P/TSX Capped Health Care Index up by 1.8 percent.