The Toronto stock market was relatively flat near midday Wednesday after the Bank of Canada left its key interest rate unchanged, but warned of persistent low inflation.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 5.32 points to 13,957.09, while the Canadian dollar fell 0.70 of a cent to 90.44 cents U.S.
The central bank kept the interest rate at one per cent and lowered its forecast for inflation.
In commodities, the February gold bullion contract slipped $1.10 to US$1,240.70 an ounce.
The move came as Morgan Stanley scaled back its expectations for gold prices over the next two years and suggested equity markets won’t need the safe haven of the precious metal as much as they did when the economies were more pained.
The report cut target prices by 12 per cent to US$1,160 an ounce in 2014 and 13 per cent to $1,138 in 2015.
On the TSX, gold stocks were down 0.8 per cent.
The energy sector rose 0.3 per cent as the February crude oil contract moved up $1.35 to US$96.32 a barrel.
Information technology stocks were the biggest gainer, rising 1.8 per cent, with shares of BlackBerry rising seven per cent, or 82 cents, to $11.70.
BlackBerry (TSX:BB) announced on Tuesday it is selling the majority of its commercial real estate holdings in Canada, but the struggling smartphone maker refused to say how much it expects to make from the deals.
The company has been trying to change the course of its money-losing operations under the leadership of new CEO John Chen. BlackBerry shares are up about 50 per cent from the start of the year.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials dropped 66.07 points to 16,348.37, the Nasdaq was 5.54 points higher to 4,231.30 and the S&P 500 index moved back 1.76 points to 1,842.04.
Weighing on the market were disappointing financial results from IBM Corp. after market close on Tuesday.
IBM reported that fourth-quarter net income grew six per cent, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations even though revenue declined. Chief executive Ginni Rometty said she’s recommending that senior executives, including herself, forgo personal bonuses for the year.
Shares of IBM were down three per cent to US$182.72.
In other corporate developments, Air Canada (TSX:AC.A) said its domestic pension plans had a small surplus as of Jan. 1, according to preliminary estimates — contrasting with the $3.7-billion solvency deficit that they had a year earlier. Shares of the airline were up 3.6 per cent, or 32 cents, to $9.24.
TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) shares gained 17 cents to $48.64 as it officially started shipping crude oil on the southern portion of its controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of major British stocks gained 0.01 per cent to 6,835 and Germany’s DAX was down 0.04 at 9,726. The CAC-40 in France lost 0.1 per cent to 4,319.
Japan’s Nikkei, the regional heavyweight, gained 0.2 per cent to 15,820.96 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.2 per cent to 23,082.25.