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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 12, 2012. (Reuters)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 12, 2012. (Reuters)

The close: Weak finish Add to ...

Canadian stocks couldn’t hold on to their gains late Wednesday, succumbing to the negative sentiment that washed over New York markets following news that U.S. retail sales fell for a second month.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX ended essentially flat, after rising as much as 125 points earlier in the session. It closed up 0.57 of a point at 11497.87. The energy sector saw the biggest selloff, declining nearly 2 per cent as the price of oil continued to fall. Shares of Canadian Natural Resources dipped 2 per cent and Precision Drilling lost 4 per cent. Dollarama rose almost 7 per cent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results and announcing a dividend hike.

In New York, the S&P 500 retreated 9.3 points, to 1314.88 points. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 77.42 points, to close at 12496.38 points. Shares of Johnson & Johnson climbed 2 per cent after the company won regulatory approval for its $19.7-billion (U.S.) purchase of Synthes Inc. Dell Inc. rose 2 per cent after the computer maker announced it would begin paying a quarterly dividend. And shares of JP Morgan Chase & Co. shares rose almost 2 per cent as CEO Jamie Dimon’s testified about his bank’s $2-billion trading loss before a Senate committee.

The price of oil fell 74 cents, to $82.58 a barrel. Gold rose by $5.60 an ounce to $1,619.40. Copper fell 1.8 cents to $3.3175 a pound. The Canadian dollar slipped one-tenth of a cent to 97.30 cents.

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