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The close: TSX finishes flat as materials stocks drop

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Feb. 20.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Canada's main stock index finished flat Tuesday, with strength in the heavyweight energy sector offseting weakness among mining stocks.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index fell 13.20 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 15,439.44.

The energy group climbed 0.4 per cent, with Crescent Point Energy Corp. rising 3.2 per cent to $9.09 and Suncor Energy Inc. up 1.1 per cent to $43.84.

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The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.1 per cent. Teck Resources Ltd. was down 2 per cent to $36.64, while Goldcorp Inc. also dropped 2 per cent to $16.60.

Marijuana producers rose on Tuesday with Canopy Growth Corp. jumping 11.7 per cent to $29.60 after announcing it received a cultivation licence for the first of its two sites operating under the BC Tweed Joint Venture Inc. banner.

Rival Aurora Cannabis Inc. finished up 8.2 per cent to $10.96, while Aphria Inc. increased 6.2 per cent to $14.93.

Other stocks rising included Shopify Inc., which rose 4.7 per cent to $180.68, and Bombardier Inc., which increased 5.1 per cent to $3.92.

The Dow and S&P 500 fell on Tuesday to snap a six-session winning streak as a sharp decline in Walmart weighed heavily, but gains in Amazon and chip stocks helped the Nasdaq hold near the unchanged mark.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 256.62 points, or 1.02 per cent, to 24,962.76, the S&P 500 lost 15.98 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 2,716.24 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.16 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 7,234.31.

Walmart, the world's biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, reported a lower-than-expected profit and posted a sharp drop in online sales growth during the holiday period. Its shares slumped 10.2 per cent, and suffered their biggest percentage fall since January 1988.

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The report pulled other grocery retailers lower, with Target , off 3.4 per cent and Kroger down 4.3 per cent. The S&P consumer staples index dropped 2.3 per cent and is down nearly 5 per cent for the year.

"Walmart and the staples in general are really dragging us down," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

"The wound was a little self-inflicted in that they said they were going to draw down a little bit this quarter because they needed to do some technology."

In contrast, shares of online retailer Amazon climbed 1.4 per cent.

The S&P 500 notched its biggest weekly percentage gain in five years last week, as equities quickly bounced from a sharp drop off its Jan. 26 high and eased concerns a longer selloff was at hand.

The selloff was sparked after economic data raised worries the economy may overheat, causing a quick spike in bond yields and concern the Federal Reserve may become more aggressive in raising U.S. interest rates.

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While still near four-year highs, yields have leveled off somewhat of late, as benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last fell 5/32 in price to yield 2.895 per cent, from 2.877 per cent late on Friday.

U.S. crude hit a near two-week high in a choppy session on Tuesday amid inventory declines at a key storage hub and on expectations that top producers could extend cooperation beyond 2018, while Brent fell under pressure from a stronger dollar.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers, including Russia, will discuss extending their cooperation for many more years when they meet in June as they seek to avoid major market shocks, United Arab Emirates' energy minister and OPEC President Suhail al-Mazroui told Reuters.

Data from market intelligence firm Genscape showed that inventories at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for U.S. crude futures, fell 2.1 million barrels in the week to Feb. 16, according to traders who saw the data.

The combination of a new pipeline running from the hub to Memphis, along with reduced flows from TransCanada's Keystone pipeline, have sent stockpiles in Cushing to the lowest in about three years.

Flows on Keystone pipeline were decreased after a leak in November.

A strengthening dollar, which hit a six-day high, however, weighed on oil prices. A more robust dollar makes oil and other dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Brent crude futures ended the session 42 cents, or 0.6 per cent, lower at $65.25 a barrel after trading between $65.81 and $64.78 a barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled up 22 cents, or 0.4 per cent, at $61.90 a barrel, as the March contract expired. Prices rallied to a high of $62.74 a barrel early in the session, the highest since Feb. 7.

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