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REFILE-CANADA STOCKS-Canadian stocks on longest losing streak in over 17 months

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Aug 19 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks sank to a three-week low on Thursday, with commodity-linked sectors leading the losses, as investor fears of a slowdown in global growth dented oil and metal prices.

The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index fell 0.5% to 20,200.84 in its sixth straight session of losses - its longest losing streak since the height of the pandemic-induced selloff in February 2020.

The energy index fell 2.2% to trade at its lowest level since late April as oil prices dropped to below $66 a barrel, pressured by concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases, a stronger U.S. dollar and a surprise increase in U.S. gasoline inventories.

Brent crude was down 3% at $66.18.

Materials stocks, which include precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.7% as prices of gold, silver, and other metals dropped.

“When it comes to commodity prices, it’s hard to see oil prices move up substantially from here,” said Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at Manulife Investment Management.

“For 2022, the prospects for Canada from the commodity sectors are not as attractive as what we saw heading into 2021.”

The global retreat from riskier assets followed the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting minutes on Wednesday that showed policymakers were considering reducing pandemic-era support this year. World stocks hit record highs recently with help from trillions of dollars in stimulus coursing through markets.

In a bright spot, data showed Canada added 221,300 jobs in July as the reopening of the economy led to hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector as well as trade, transportation and utilities.

HIGHLIGHTS

* Lundin Mining Corp slumped 6.4% after BMO Capital downgraded the stock to “market perform” from “outperform”.

* The TSX posted one new 52-week highs and two new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 10 new 52-week highs and eight new lows, with total volume of 26.73 million shares.

* On the TSX, 33 issues were higher, while 186 issues declined for a 5.64-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 13.43 million shares traded. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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