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The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)
The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)

At the open: Stocks fall as worries grow about Fed easing stimulus Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was lower Wednesday amid lower oil prices and disappointing earnings from Canada’s oldest company.

The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 64.39 points to 13,259.62 as Hudson’s Bay Co. (TSX:HBC) reported a larger net loss in its latest quarter, mostly due to costs related to its acquisition of U.S. retailer Saks Inc. last month.

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The retailer reported a net loss of $124.2 million, or $1.04 per share, compared with $14.4 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier. Overall retail sales rose by 5.8 per cent . Ex-items, earnings were seven cents a share, which missed estimates by about three cents and its shares fell 74 cents or 3.7 per cent to $19.25.

The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.06 of a cent to 94.37 cents US.

U.S. indexes also gave up ground as investors remained focused on whether the Federal Reserve could move as soon as next week on clawing back its stimulus.

The Dow Jones industrials were down 25.56 points to 15,947.57, the Nasdaq gave back 9.05 points at 4,051.44 and the S&P 500 index declined 4.88 points to 1,797.74.

There’s a growing expectation in the markets that the Fed will decide to start reducing its $85 billion worth of financial asset purchases following a run of solid economic data.

Analysts say investors appear to be holding back from big trading decisions ahead of the next central bank meeting a week from now.

An apparent budget deal in the U.S. Congress failed to have much of an impact even though it would mean another partial shutdown of the U.S. government will be avoided. Most interest rests on the U.S. debt ceiling, which has to be raised early next year to avoid a debt default.

The gold component shed 1.2 per cent while February bullion dipped a dime to US$1,261 an ounce. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) faded 18 cents to C$17.73.

The energy sector fell 0.8 per cent while January crude slipped 32 cents to US$98.19 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) declined 51 cents to C$34.45.

Natural gas giant Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) plans to increase its production of natural gas liquids by 30 per cent next year, as it focuses spending in five resource areas across North America. Encana does not expect its forecasted production levels to change from last year, even though it plans on cutting its capital investment by 10 per cent. Last month, it announced it was slashing its workforce by 20 per cent, cutting its dividend and spinning off a large chunk of its Alberta land holdings into a new public company. EnCana shares shed 78 cents to $19.60.

March copper was up one cent at US$3.28 a pound and the base metals sector gave back 0.7 per cent. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) lost 27 cents to C$25.28.

European bourses advanced with London’s FTSE 100 index ahead 0.4 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.36 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.8 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 1.7 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite shed 1.5 per cent.

  • TSX-I
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  • DJIA-I
  • COMP-I
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