The Toronto stock market focused on weaker commodities and moved lower in early trading on Wednesday as investors awaited the results of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve set to wrap up in the afternoon.
The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 48.67 points to 11,739.69 shortly after the open. The TSX Venture Exchange was off 3.87 points at 1,260.51.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.08 of a cent at 98.29 cents U.S.
The expectation is that the Fed will announce it is extending a program of buying long-term bonds to keep rates low, or at least signal a readiness to act should the economy sputter.
Those predictions were enough to move markets higher on Tuesday, though attention has shifted on the TSX to the decline of key commodities prices.
The June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 55 cents at US$83.48 a barrel, and the TSX energy sector fell.
The gold sector dropped 1.3 per cent with August gold off $15.40 at $1,607.80 (U.S.) an ounce.
July copper was down three cents at $3.40 (U.S.) a pound.
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has succeeded in its protracted, $2.7-billion takeover bid for Norway’s Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA. The company said almost 91 per cent of Statoil Retail’s shares have now been tendered to the offer, which is above the 90 per cent threshold at which Couche-Tard has said it would initiate a compulsory acquisition of the rest of the shares in the company. Couche-Tard shares rose $1.74 to $44.75.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average declined 16.57 points to 12,820.76. The Nasdaq composite index fell 3.97 points to 2,925.79 and the S&P 500 index was down 2.42 points at 1,355.56.
Investors are hoping that the Fed will either keep buying long-term bonds to keep rates low, or at least signal that it's ready to act if the economy sputters. The Fed will release a statement at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday.
“The market is likely to go into a holding pattern ahead of the Fed announcement this afternoon. Then, it will all depend on what the Fed says,” said Dick Green at Briefing.com.
A few minutes after trading opened, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 22 points to 12,815. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost three points to 1,354 and the Nasdaq composite index dropped five points at 2,924.
Procter & Gamble fell 4 per cent after the consumer products maker cut its fourth-quarter earnings and revenue forecasts.
On Tuesday, stocks ended solidly higher after a moderately successful Spanish bond auction and on hopes for more Fed stimulus.
The Dow gained 0.75 per cent, the S&P 500 advanced 0.98 per cent and the Nasdaq added 1.19 per cent.
With files from The Associated Press