Major Canadian and U.S. stock indices were little changed in early trading Wednesday, after a short rally the day before that appeared to be built on some strong corporate earnings reports and hopes that the U.S. government was close to an agreement to raise its debt ceiling.
In Toronto, 51 per cent of stocks listed on the TSX composite index had retreated, with all sectors giving up small amounts of territory save for energy. The S&P/TSX slipped 9.45 points to 13323.47.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average declined 22.70 points to 12564.72, and the broader S&P 500 index was flat at 1325.82.
Technology, health care and consumer staples led the modest retreat, with 53 per cent of the S&P 500 listed companies down in price.
European and Asian stocks advanced earlier in the day. The price of bullion fell for a second day, declining $14.20 (U.S.) an ounce to $1586.90. WTI crude oil was holding steady after Tuesday’s gain, rising 61 cents a barrel to $98.11. The loonie continued to rise, following hints from the Bank of Canada this week that interest rates would begin rising soon. It traded up 0.24 cents at $105.51.
Investors will be looking ahead to some big corporate earnings reports later in the day, including Intel, United Technologies and American Express. There is also an important meeting of European leaders in Brussels scheduled for Thursday, at which officials face the challenge of persuading markets that Greece can be saved from default and the rest of the euro zone from contagion.