Canada's main stock index dropped on Wednesday, hurt by losses in the consumer staples sector after food retailer Loblaw Cos reported disappointing quarterly earnings.

At 9:47 a.m. ET (1347 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX Composite index was down 34.6 points, or 0.21pc , at 16,538.08.

The consumer staples sector fell over 1pc , hurt by a 3pc  decline in shares of Loblaw after the company missed quarterly profit expectations as it continues to invest in building its e-commerce network and retail stores.

Six of the index's 11 major sectors were lower.

The materials sector, which includes precious metal miners, added 0.4pc  as gold prices rose on expectations of monetary policy easing from leading central banks to shore up the global economy.

On the TSX, 87 issues were higher, while 138 issues declined for a 1.59-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 15.70 million shares traded.

The top percentage gainer on the TSX was Cott Corp , which jumped 4.5pc , followed by shares of gold miner Eldorado Gold, which rose 3.9pc .

CannTrust Holdings fell 17.5pc , the most on the TSX, after a report said that the company's chairman and chief executive officer were informed in November of its unlicensed cannabis growing.

The most heavily traded shares by volume were those of CannTrust, Trimetals Mining Inc and Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT.

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

Across all Canadian issues, there were 18 new 52-week highs and seven new lows, with total volume of 27.39 million shares.

Copyright Reuters, 2019