Business Report AFTER THE BELL: Global economic concerns drag North American markets, TSX’s pot stocks tumble SHARE ON: Troy Landreville, staff Thursday, Mar. 7th, 2019 A gloomy economic outlook both domestically and across the pond dampened sentiment on Bay Street. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced today it is leaving its interest rates unchanged while offering a new round of cheap loans to support eurozone banks. This led to concern about the impact that trade uncertainty and other factors are having on European growth. Closer to home, a day after the Bank of Canada left interest rates unchanged, the central bank said growth in consumption slowed compared with 2017, as did housing. All this helped factor into a red day on Canada’s stock exchange, with the TSX losing 35 points. Six of the exchange’s 11 sectors dipped, led lower by a two percent drop in the health care sector as many of Canada’s popular cannabis stocks went for a nosedive. Among them were Aurora Cannabis, which was off by 3.6 percent, and Aphria, down 4.6 percent. The energy sector was up slightly, up 0.3 percent, as oil prices inched 33 cents higher to $56.55 US a barrel. And while crude prices continue to move up due to cuts from the world’s leading producers, Canadian Natural Resources struggled in the fourth quarter, losing $776 million, due mainly to lower Canadian oil prices in the latter half of 2018. In New York, it was another rough day for the markets as the Dow plummeted 200 points and the Nasdaq was lower by 84 points. The ECB slashing its economic growth outlook had a ripple effect on global markets, including stateside with key components including Caterpillar, Apple, American Express, and Johnson and Johnson mired in the red. After losing nearly half a cent yesterday, the Canadian dollar weakened by another 4/100ths of a cent to $0.7434 while gold lost value, down $1.50 to $1,286 an ounce.