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CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls on escalating U.S.-China tension over virus origin

·2 mins read

May 4 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Monday in line with Wall Street, as escalating tensions between the United States and China regarding the origin of the novel coronavirus fueled fears of a new trade war.

U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that there was "a significant amount of evidence" that the new coronavirus originated from a Chinese laboratory. Last week, President Donald Trump had threatened further tariff action against China over the virus.

* At 9:39 a.m. ET (1339 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 79.55 points, or 0.54%, at 14,540.79.

* The energy sector dropped 1.8% as U.S. crude prices were down 1.4% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.5%.

* The financials sector slipped 1.4%. The industrials sector fell 1.1%.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.6% as gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,699.6 an ounce.

* On the TSX, 49 issues were higher, while 180 issues declined for a 3.67-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 22.88 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were NovaGold Resources Inc and Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd that jumped 4.3% and 4.2% respectively after gold prices rose as the Sino-U.S. tensions pushed investors to safe havens.

* Chorus Aviation Inc fell 11.5%, the most on the TSX. The second-biggest decliner was Air Canada, down 9.4% after it posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and warned of an about 75% drop in third-quarter capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Air Canada , Bombardier Inc and Bank of Montreal.

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

* Across all Canadian issues, there were 15 new 52-week highs and five new lows, with total volume of 41.62 million shares. (Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)