TSX dips on surging virus cases, U.S.-China tensions

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Tuesday, over fears of further curbs on business activity amid a global surge in coronavirus infections and simmering tensions between U.S. and China.* The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said on Tuesday that the United States could respond with sanctions against Chinese officials and enterprises involved in coercion in the South China Sea.* Oil prices fell on Tuesday with OPEC+ set to taper its record production cut of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) to 7.7 million bpd from August through December.

FILE PHOTO: The Art Deco facade of the original Toronto Stock Exchange building is seen on Bay Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

* At 9:49 a.m. ET (13:56 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 17.75 points, or 0.11%, at 15,621.66.

* The energy sector climbed 0.9% even as U.S. crude prices were down 0.5% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.1%.

* The financials sector slipped 0.2%. The industrials sector fell 0.1%.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.4% as gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,806.2 an ounce.

* On the TSX, 91 issues were higher, while 122 issues declined for a 1.34-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 28.23 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Parklnd Corp, which jumped 2.6% and Innergex Renewable Energy Inc, which rose 2.4%.

* First Quantum Minerals Ltd fell 4.7%, the most on the TSX. The second biggest decliner was Teck Resources Ltd, down 3.7%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were The Toronto-Dominion Bank, down 0.5%; Zenabis Global Inc, which was flat and Nevada Copper Corp, down 18.9%.

* The TSX posted no new 52-week highs and no new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 5 new 52-week highs and one new low, with total volume of 61.13 million shares.

Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru