Feb 21 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday in broad-based declines, as material shares were down on the back of a fall in gold prices and lower oil prices weighed on energy stocks.
* In key focus was developments on the trade front between the world’s largest economies that have roiled global markets for the most part of last year.
* The United States and China have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending a seven-month trade war, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
* At 9:44 a.m. ET (14:44 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 40.75 points, or 0.25 percent, at 15,990.49.
* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, shed 0.9 percent as gold futures fell 0.8 percent to $1,332.6 an ounce.
* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd, which rose 5.9 percent, followed by Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd, which gained 5.0 percent. Both companies had reported their quarterly results.
* The energy sector edged down 0.2 percent as crude oil prices were slightly lower.
* The healthcare sector rose 0.61 percent, and was the only major sector to be trading higher.
* Gainers in the group were led by cannabis producers Aphria , Cronos Group and Aurora Cannabis, which rose between 1 percent and 3 percent.
* On the TSX, 73 issues were higher, while 157 issues declined for a 2.15-to-1 ratio to the downside, with traded volume touching at 22.48 million shares.
* Iamgold Corp fell 8.1 percent, the most on the TSX, while the second biggest decliner was Hudbay Minerals , down by 4.7 percent.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Trevali Mining Corp, Bombardier Inc and Aurora Cannabis.
* The TSX posted five new 52-week highs and one new low.
* Across all Canadian issues, there were 13 new 52-week highs and four new lows, with total volume touching 40.23 million shares. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)