Shares of railroad and auto companies were among the biggest decliners after Canadian government officials said there's an increasing chance that U.S. President Donald Trump will give six months notice to withdraw from the NAFTA trade agreement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a town hall in Halifax on Monday, January 16, 2017.
Reuters reported earlier Wednesday that Canada is "increasingly convinced" Trump will abandon renegotiation talks and announce he is initiating the withdrawal process.
Canada and Mexico have rejected most of the United States proposals for NAFTA reforms, leaving officials with a big job if they are to bridge the large differences at the 23-28 January talks in Montreal.
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The Canadian dollar trades down 0.91% at 1.2575 per dollar.
Canadian officials hinted they would also view such a declaration as a negotiating tactic to try and win concessions, rather than a serious plan to yank America out of NAFTA.
For one thing, Congress would have to approve such a move - and that's unlikely. In the meantime, the official said, the government is moving ahead with plans to host U.S. and Mexican trade negotiators in Montreal January 23-28.
In response to the Reuters story, the White House said "there has been no change in the President's position on NAFTA", which offered little clarity as Trump has routinely threatened to walk away if he can not extract concessions from the other two trade partners. The three countries have agreed to host joint negotiations through March.