TSX falls as coronavirus fears hit oil prices

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Friday, weighed down by losses in energy shares, as oil prices fell on rising worries over the potential economic damage from a coronavirus outbreak that has spread to around 20 countries.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The World Health Organization declared the epidemic a global emergency on Thursday after the virus killed more than 200 people in China and infected thousands globally.

Travel curbs and supply chain disruptions have prompted economists to assess the potential impact to global growth.

The energy sector dropped 1.6%, as U.S. crude prices were down 0.9% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.2%. [O/R]

At 09:46 a.m. ET (14:46 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 87.55 points, or 0.5%, at 17,403.01.

The materials sector rose 0.4% as gold miners gained on the back of higher prices of the precious metal. [GOL/] [MET/L]

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Detour Gold Corp, which jumped 4.3% and Kirkland Lake Gold, which rose 3.8%

On the TSX, 83 issues were higher, while 144 issues declined for a 1.73-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 14.09 million shares traded.

Methanex Corp fell 5.3%, the most on the TSX, after TD Securities cut its price target on stock. The second biggest decliner was First Quantum Minerals Ltd, down 4.1%.

The most heavily traded stock by volume was StageZero Life Sciences Inc.

The TSX posted eight new 52-week highs and four new lows.

Across all Canadian issues there were 29 new 52-week highs and nine new lows, with total volume of 29.84 million shares.

Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru