The Toronto stock market dipped into the red at midday Wednesday amid signs that the U.S. economy is continuing to strengthen.
The S&P/TSX composite index, which opened higher, was down 38.64 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 14,260.85. The Canadian dollar gained 0.07 of a cent 89.68 cents US.
Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February by the largest amount in three months, helped by solid gains in demand for airplanes and autos. The U.S. Commerce Department says orders for durable goods increased 2.2 per cent last month following a 1.3 per cent drop in January.
U.S. markets were mostly higher, but also off their highs. The Dow was up 12.54 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 16,380.42; the S&P 500 was up 1.96 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 1,867.58; and the Nasdaq was down 13.88 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 4,220.39.
The economic data followed a report earlier this week from the Conference Board that found its measure of consumer confidence rose last month to its highest level since January 2008. Another release showed U.S. home prices edged down in January for a third month, but were at a high level compared with a year earlier.
With most earnings reported by the major companies, the markets are taking a pause from major swings up or down, said Stephen Lingard, co-lead portfolio manager with Franklin Quotential Portfolios.
“The market is searching for direction,” he said. “You have energy that is positive, financials that are positive and a little bit of weight from the gold sector.”
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, sectors were mixed, with the gold sector being the biggest drag, falling by two per cent. The June gold bullion contract dropped $9.60 to US$1,301.80 an ounce. The May copper contract dropped four cents to US$2.96 a pound.
Oil headed to US$100 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as it gained 61 cents at US$99.80 a barrel.
In corporate news, Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) says it has signed a deal to sell two water bombers, used to fight forest fires, to the Newfoundland and Labrador government. The sale of the amphibious planes is valued at US$73.7 million, based on the list price for the Bombardier 415, which is assembled in North Bay, Ont. Its shares fell four cents or nearly one per cent to $4.09.
On Wall Street, King Digital Entertainment — the maker of the popular mobile game “Candy Crush Saga” — has raised US$499.5 million in an IPO that values the Irish company at about US$7.1 billion.
Shares were priced at US$22.50 each and the company is selling 15.3 million of the 22.2 million shares. The rest of the stock is being sold by existing shareholders. Its shares opened below the IPO price of US$22.50 at US$20.50 on Wednesday at the NYSE under the ticker symbol “KING.”