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Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addresses the Independent Community Bankers of America Policy Summit, Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen addresses the Independent Community Bankers of America Policy Summit, Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

At midday: TSX flat as Yellen comments temper sentiment Add to ...

Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Wednesday as comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen weighed on sentiment, offsetting a jump in shares of Encana Corp after the company signed a deal to buy a U.S. shale oil assets.

Yellen said the central bank will continue to provide a high degree of monetary policy accommodation, but cited geopolitical turmoil and weak housing data as risks to the U.S. economy.

BNN Video May. 07 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

Video: Encana deal with Freeport doubles oil output

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Encana gained 5.2 per cent to C$25.83 after the company said it is buying producing assets in the Eagle Ford shale field in Texas from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold for $3.1-billion, nearly doubling its oil output.

Investors also digested a wave of quarterly reports, including several from energy companies. Shares of Talisman Energy Inc., Husky Energy Inc. and Enbridge Inc. all advanced after they posted profits.

In the U.S., the S&P 500 was down 1.49 points at 1,866.23, the Dow Jones climbed 27.23 points to 16,428.25 and the Nasdaq slid 50.21 points to 4,030.55.

The Canadian benchmark index is up more than 7 per cent this year.

“We’re looking at a market that feels comfortable where it is,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

“I won’t be surprised if the market starts to show a little bit of strength,” he added. “But commodity prices are under pressure.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 4.71 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 14,617. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.

The energy sector advanced 0.6 per cent, with oil prices also providing support.

Talisman climbed 2.4 per cent to $11.40 after the company posted a first-quarter profit, compared with a year-earlier loss, as oil and natural gas liquids production in North America soared 45 per cent.

Husky reported a bigger-than-expected 24 per cent rise in first-quarter profit, helped by stronger prices for crude oil, natural gas liquids and bitumen. The stock added 1.7 per cent to $36.08.

Enbridge reported a 56 per cent rise in quarterly profit, sending shares of the pipeline company up 0.2 per cent to $53.11.

But Tim Hortons Inc. gave back 1.6 per cent to $58.73 after the coffee and snacks chain reported results that fell short of market expectations.

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