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Canadian Stock Market Down: AEterna Zentaris Inc. (AEZS), Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl (VRX), Kinross Gold Corporation (KGC), Encana Corporation (ECA), Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (POT)

The Toronto Stock Exchange was pounded this year as the price of oil and other commodities took a beating.

Down more than 10 per cent heading into the final trading week of the year, even the Canadian banking sector — a stalwart of many portfolios — has struggled.

Sadiq S. Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investments, says 2015 started out bullish, but unwound in second half of the year with a bigger hit on oil prices and weakness in China.

“As we close off the year, people are going to be looking at how the Canadian fares with even lower prices than people were expecting in 2015.”

The energy sector grabbed the headlines in 2015 as the price of oil went into freefall, taking stocks and the loonie with it. But the drop in the Canadian dollar wasn’t all bad news.

“As we close off the year, people are going to be looking at how the Canadian fares with even lower prices than people were expecting in 2015.”

Canadian investors with U.S. stocks benefited enormously from the drop in the loonie. In U.S. dollar terms, gains by American stocks this year were modest, but because of the plunge in the loonie, the gains in Canadian dollar terms were impressive.

Headed into 2016, Adatia is still bearish on the Canadian market, but he suggested the banking and telecommunication sectors are areas where investors might want to ride out the volatile markets.

“You still want to have some of the staple names out there,” he said.

“If the economy gets weaker and consumers tighten their spending, what they are going to spend on is what they actually need.”

CIBC is forecasting the S&P/TSX composite index to gain five per cent in 2016 and the S&P500 in the U.S. to climb about three per cent in Canadian dollar terms.

Luc de la Durantaye, managing director for asset allocation and currency management at CIBC, says he’s looking outside of Canada for opportunities.

“If you look at France, Germany, Italy — these markets have done eight, 10, 12 per cent returns in local currency, plus the Canadian dollar depreciated more than the euro,” he said.

AEterna Zentaris Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:AEZS) a specialty biopharmaceutical company, engages in developing and commercializing novel treatments in oncology, endocrinology, and women’s health. The Company shares are trading 55.17% above their 52 week low price after the last close and -94.44% below the 52 week high. Its latest closing price was down -79.13% from the average-price of 200 days while it kept its distance from the SMA50 at -17.22% and -25.87% compared with the SMA 20.

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) were 64.59% up 52 week lows as of the latest close and -56.75% below the 52 week high. Its latest closing price was down -40.53% from the average-price of 200 days while it maintained a distance from the SMA 50 at 11.16% and 14.24% compared with the SMA 20. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter products, and medical devices worldwide.

Kinross Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:KGC) together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of gold bearing properties. The stock’s latest price traded at 44.44% up 52 week lows after the closing bell and was -47.44% behind its 52 week high. Its latest closing price was -6.56% below the SMA200 while the distance from the SMA 50 and SMA 20 was -1.30% and 0.46% respectively.

Encana Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ECA) is trading 8.39% higher than the 52 week low price and -64.88% behind the 52 week high. The stock’s latest closing price was -45.60% down from the average-price of 200 days while it kept its distance from the SMA50 at -31.36% and -21.63% compared with the SMA 20. Encana Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development, exploration, production, and marketing of natural gas, oil, and natural gas liquids in Canada and the United States.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT) together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells fertilizers and related industrial and feed products worldwide. The Company so far this year has moved down -45.99% and its monthly performance stands at -9.08%. The stock was up 8.83% from its 52 week low and was -49.76% below the 52 week high. Its latest closing price was down -30.64% from the average-price of 200 days while it kept its distance from the SMA50 at -8.85% and -1.02% compared with the SMA 20.