A steep and continuing descent in the energy sector proved the main culprit Tuesday for equities in Canada’s largest market, which fell sharply by the session’s closing bell.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index plummeted 1116.44 points to end Tuesday at 15,149.60

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.25 cents to 75.37 cents U.S.

Energy stocks took a drubbing Tuesday morning, with Cenovus swooning 81 cents, or 7.9%, to $9.47, and Encana Corporation falling 46 cents, or 4%, to $11.07.

Telecoms were on the downhill slide, too, as BCE Inc. lost 32 cents to $59.34, while Rogers Communications slouched 59 cents to $62.27.

In the industrial sector, Air Canada stepped back five cents to $17.21, while Bombardier shares were unchanged at $2.59.

Consumer staples proved one of the few bright spots, though Restaurant Brands acquired a penny to $81.79, while Cara Operations – which operates the Harvey’s and Swiss Chalet chains – poked up six cents to $23.68.

Gold tried to be positive, as B2Gold gained eight cents, or 2.2%, to $3.71, and Torex Gold Resources advanced 67 cents, or 2.8%, to $24.24.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported that wholesale trade increased 1.0% to $61.0 billion in April, a seventh consecutive monthly advance.

The agency says gains were recorded in three of seven sub-sectors, accounting for 41% of total wholesale sales, and were led by the machinery, equipment and supplies sub-sector.

Moreover, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Monday he had discussed with his provincial counterparts whether more actions are needed to ensure the stability of the country’s housing market

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange lost 6.51 points to 770.09

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative, as energy gave up 2.3%, while telecoms surrendered 0.7% and industrials dipped 0.6%.

The sole gainers were consumer staples, up 0.2%, while gold nosed up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities closed lower Tuesday, pulling back from record highs, as oil prices pressured energy stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 61.85 points from Monday’s record high to 21,467.14, with Disney contributing the most losses.

The S&P 500 deducted 16.43 points – also from a Monday peak — to 2,437.03, as the energy sector dropped nearly 1.3% to lead decliners.

The NASDAQ plunged 50.98 points to 6,188.03.

In corporate news, biopharmaceutical firm Parexel announced it will be acquired by Pamplona Capital Management for $4.6 billion, or $88.10 a share. This is the latest M&A deal unveiled in less than a week.

On Monday, EQT announced an agreement to buy Rice Energy for $6.7 billion and Amazon said Friday it’s buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

Investors also kept an eye on Washington as they awaited more details regarding potential tax reform.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was scheduled to speak Tuesday at a conference held by the National Association of Manufacturers, where he was expected to push for permanent changes and comprehensive reform for individuals and businesses.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.16% from Monday’s 2.19%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell 97 cents to $43.34 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices faltered $3.20 to $1,243.50 U.S. an ounce.

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