Skip to main content

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 201

Mark Blin/Reute

Canada's main stock index fell slightly on Thursday as resource stocks weighed.

At 11:17 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 29.37 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 16,107.84. Seven of its 10 main sectors were lower.

The energy group slipped 0.3 per cent. Cenovus Energy Inc fell 1.3 per cent to $11.76 after the oil sands company said it will cut an extra 15 per cent of its workforce as part of a cost-cutting drive.

Story continues below advertisement

Bombardier Inc lost 1.9 per cent to $3.08 after the plane and train maker forecast 2018 revenue well short of analysts' estimates.

Canadian National Railway Co was up 0.4 per cent at $103.48.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Mitel Network Corp, which rose 11 per cent to $10.48 after an analyst initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating, while the largest decliner was Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., down 4.6 per cent to $26.46.

Goldcorp Inc fell 0.6 per cent to $15.89 and Barrick Gold Corp was down 0.1 per cent at $18.12 as gold prices pulled back from a one-week high.

The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday after oil prices fell and data showed robust U.S. retail sales, while investors turned their attention to a speech by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz.

U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November, pointing to sustained strength in the economy.

The data helped boost the U.S. dollar , which had fallen on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, as expected, but left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Poloz was due to discuss three concerns that keep him awake at night. The central bank will release his prepared remarks at 12:25 p.m. ET.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.23 per cent at 77.79 U.S. cents.

Resales of Canadian homes rose 3.9 per cent in November from October, the fourth straight monthly rise, but the momentum may not last as stricter mortgage rules take effect in January, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.

Statistics Canada said new home prices edged up by 0.1 per cent in October on strength in the capital, Ottawa, and the first increase in Toronto in five months.

Separately, the statistics agency said Canadian household debt as a share of income reached a record high of 171.1 per cent in the third quarter. The report is likely to reinforce concerns that consumers could run into trouble as interest rates rise.

Wall Street indexes hovered around record levels on Thursday, perked up by the Federal Reserve's upbeat view on the economy and news that the Republicans' tax code overhaul is set to face final votes in Congress before the year-end.

Story continues below advertisement

The Fed now expects a burst of growth fueled by tax cuts and ultra-low unemployment of below 4 per cent in 2018 and 2019, though little movement on inflation.

A final bill could be unveiled by Friday, with decisive votes expected next week in both chambers.

Congressional Republicans reached a deal on final tax legislation on Wednesday that would slash the corporate tax rate to 21 per cent.

"Talks on tax reforms and the Fed announcement brings confidence in the fact that the economy is still moving in a positive and sustained fashion," said Paul Springmeyer, investment managing director at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management.

Shares of big banks recovered from an initial decline after the Federal Reserve raised rates by 25 basis points but kept its outlook for 2018 and 2019 unchanged.

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Bank of America rose by between 0.76 per cent and 1.51 per cent, pushing up the S&P financial index 0.38 per cent.

"You've seen some M&A activity hit the screens that is driving some interest as well - that's a three-legged soul that's moving the market."

Walt Disney Co struck a deal to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox for $52.4-billion in stock. Disney's shares inched up 0.12 per cent in volatile trading and Fox shares rose 3 per cent.

Growth outlook in the world's largest economy was bolstered by a more-than-expected increase in U.S. retail sales in November.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to near a 44-1/2-year low last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.16 per cent to 24,623.74 - on track to post six days of gains in a row.

The S&P 500 was up 4.16 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 2,667.01 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 21.18 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 6,896.98.

Amazon rose 1 per cent and Alphabet 1.6 per cent, contributing the most to gains on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Telecom service providers Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink were down between 0.6 per cent to 1.4 per cent and weighed on the S&P telecom index.

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.