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CANADA STOCKS-Tech stocks drive Toronto index lower ahead of BoC rate decision

·2 min read

(Updates prices, adds analyst comments)

By Amal S

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Wednesday, weighed down by technology stocks, ahead of the Bank of Canada's interest rate decision due later in the day.

At 9:41 a.m. ET (14:41 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 74.95 points, or 0.35%, at 21,087.7 with both technology and healthcare stocks down over 1%. Leading losses in technology sector was Nuvei Corp down 27% following a new short call from Spruce Point Capital Management.

Meanwhile, healthcare sector was weighed down by a near 2% drop in major pot producers including Canopy Growth Corp , Aurora Cannabis Inc and Tilray Inc .

Monetary policy decision from the Bank of Canada is due at 10:00 a.m. ET and the central bank is expected to hold its key overnight interest rate at 0.25%.

However, investors remained cautious as recent employment and trade numbers have been strong, which could prompt the central bank to potentially move forward its schedule for interest rate hike.

"And also more importantly for sentiment, I think people are just waiting to see what the Bank of Canada does. Nobody's expecting a rate hike but there is a possibility that they might move up their timetable for a rate hike again," Cieszynski added.

The energy sector fell 0.2% as oil prices steadied below $76 a barrel, extending strong gains this week, as investors assessed the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant on the global economy and fuel demand.

The benchmark equity index gained ground in the last two sessions following a volatile start to December, dominated by concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant and a hawkish outlook from the United States Federal Reserve.

Among individual stocks, Dollarama Inc gained 1.0% after posting quarterly profit above estimates, as the discount store operator benefited from strong demand for its higher-margin seasonal products, such as Halloween decorations and candy.

HIGHLIGHTS

The TSX posted three new 52-week highs and no new low.

Across Canadian issues, there were five new 52-week highs and five new lows, with total volume of 27.08 million shares.

(Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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