Equities fade by close
(Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Gold, materials stocks drop
The Toronto stock market was little changed Wednesday as investors look to earnings reports and an expected vote later today on raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 30.58 points to end Wednesday's session at 12,794.05
The Canadian dollar fell 0.74 cents to 100.08 cents U.S.
In Toronto, Celestica reported a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profits as the electronics manufacturer was hit by restructuring and other charges and lower revenue as it wound down work for Research In Motion.
Its shares dipped 36 cents, or 4.2%, to $8.20 even as president and chief executive officer Craig Muhlhauser assured analysts on a conference call there is a plan to improve profit this year.
In the gold sector, Goldcorp Inc. faded 77 cents, or 2%, to $37.26 while Iamgold ran down $1.54, or 14.3%, to $9.25.
The base metals component fell as March copper was unchanged at $3.70 U.S. a pound. First Quantum Minerals was down 37 cents to $20.55.
Retail stocks led the consumer discretionary component lower as Quebec-based convenience store owner Alimentation Couche-Tard gave back 61 cents to $48.37
In the telecom sector, Telus Corp. added 14 cents to end the day $64.70.
In other corporate news, Aurizon Mines Ltd. is urging shareholders reject a $780-million hostile takeover bid by Alamos Gold Inc., which is offering a combination of cash and shares.
The junior miner's board also says it has adopted a shareholder rights plan to defend against the hostile offer and help give it time to find alternatives. Aurizon shares were up two cents at $4.76 while Alamos shares were up seven cents at the close to $16.02.
Speaking of things economic, the Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1%. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1.25% and the deposit rate is 0.75%.
The central bank also said economic growth has been weaker than expected and indicated that the anticipated need to raise rates is now less imminent.
The change in the guidance from last month likely means the central bank won't move to tighten borrowing costs until some time in 2014 or until it has more compelling evidence the Canadian economy is ready to re-engage.
The TSX Venture Exchange squeaked higher 0.46 points to 1,241.53
Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were lower on the day, weighed down by gold stocks, off 1.8%, materials, fading 1%, and the metals and mining group, down 0.4%.
The five gaining subgroups were led by health-care, 0.4% more robust, telecoms, up 0.3%, and utilities, ahead 0.2%.
Stocks traded higher Wednesday, as corporate earnings continue to surprise on the upside.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 66.96 points to conclude the session at 13,779.20
The S&P 500 gained 2.14 points to 1,494.70. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 10.49 points to 3,153.67
Late Tuesday, two of the largest technology companies, IBM and Google, both reported earnings that topped forecasts.
US Airways added to the enthusiasm when it reported earnings Wednesday morning that beat forecasts. Shares of McDonald's ticked up slightly even though the company warned that same-store sales could fall in January. Earnings did top estimates, however.
Investors are now waiting for Apple and Netflix, which are scheduled to report quarterly results after Wednesday's close.
Apple has been under pressure recently amid concerns about waning iPhone sales. Expectations for earnings vary widely, but many forecasters expect Apple to report a drop in profit for the first time in nine years.
Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 3.8% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P's Capital IQ.
Still, not all earnings reports have been positive. Luxury retailer Coach disappointed investors. Revenue missed forecasts, and the company said holiday sales were "challenging." Shares fell nearly 15%.
Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury gained some ground, lowering yields to 1.83% from Tuesday's 1.84%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices faded $1.11 to $95.57 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices fell back $7.10 to $1,686.10 U.S. an ounce.
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