Signs of a trade deal in the works between the world’s two largest economies didn’t boost sentiment on North American markets.

News reports indicate that the U.S. and China are closing in on a deal, with the two sides planning on meeting at the end of March.

If a deal is made, the U.S. will ease off on imposing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

Trade optimism wasn’t enough to lift markets, however.

The TSX was lower by 30 points, pressured by a 1.7 percent drop in the influential energy sector.

Energy companies fell despite a 65 cent bump in the price of oil. Oil rose to $56.45 US a barrel, fueled by continued OPEC production cuts, and hopes over a future U.S./China trade pact.

Even so, it was a rough day for energy stocks including Enbridge, which was down 5.7 percent after the Calgary-based company disclosed a delay in its Line 3 Replacement project through northern Minnesota.

Fellow energy companies wobbled, with Canadian Natural Resources, Crescent Point, Meg Energy Corp., and Cenovus losing between 4.5 and 6.1 percent.

Meanwhile, Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp. has rejected Barrick Gold’s takeover bid. The deal would have created the world’s largest gold producer.

In a release, Newmont said its Board of Directors determined that Barrick’s offer was not in the best interests of Newmont’s shareholders.

Newmont’s CEO Gary Goldberg said, “Unlike Barrick, Newmont Goldcorp will be centered in the world’s most favorable mining jurisdictions and gold districts.”

Barrick’s shares moved up 1.6 percent, while Newmont rose 1.8 percent.

In New York, it was a losing day on Wall Street with the Dow slipping 206 points and the Nasdaq edging down 17 points.

The Dow was dragged by broad-based losses in both the financial and energy sectors along with drops in key components such as Boeing, which sank 1.8 percent, McDonald’s, down 2.4 percent, and Nike, which lost 1.7 percent.

Gold prices tumbled to a five-week low, losing $11.50 to $1,287 an ounce as investors moved away from the safety of the yellow metal, while the loonie was down 14/100ths of a cent to $0.7513 US.