European Markets

TSX eyes worst session in 10 months as energy stocks weigh

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Nov 26 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was on course for its biggest fall since late January on Friday, dragged down by a 6% drop in energy stocks as fears over a possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant sent oil prices lower.

At 9:44 a.m. ET (14:44 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index (.GSPTSE) was down 365.66 points, or 1.69%, at 21,247.52.

The energy sector (.SPTTEN) was on course to snap a four-day rally on worries that the variant, which Britain said scientists considered the most significant found to date, could restrict travel and dampen economic growth.

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"We can see the big selloff in world markets overnight on the announcement of the new COVID variant and the travel restrictions by some of the countries in Europe," said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

The benchmark equity index's record-breaking rally paused last week due to weaker commodity prices and a COVID-19 resurgence in Europe that led to fresh lockdowns in the region.

The financials sector (.SPTTFS), which accounts for about 30% of the index's market value, slipped 2.2%.

The materials sector (.GSPTTMT), which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.1% on weakness in copper prices.

But a 0.4% rise in gold futures helped limit losses for the sector and put a floor under the benchmark index.

"We could see a rally in gold today and you can see that Canada is getting cushion from gold stocks, that's why you see the Canadian index is not down quite as much as the U.S. today," Cieszynski said.

HIGHLIGHTS

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

Across all Canadian issues, there were four new 52-week highs and 23 new lows, with total volume of 70.77 million shares.

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Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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