Equities in Canada’s largest centre gave up earlier gains by noon hour on Tuesday, despite improvement in the price of Bank of Nova Scotia shares after the lender reported results and an advance in shares of industrial companies.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index sagged 47.19 points to approach noon at 15,667.47
The Canadian dollar fell 0.38 cents to 78.44 cents U.S.
Scotiabank's quarterly earnings topped market expectations. Its shares climbed 1.5% to $79.97.
The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Ritchie Bros Auctioneers, which rose 5%, while the largest decliner was Aphria Inc, down 4.3%.
Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Aurora Cannabis, down 3% at $9.86; Bombardier, up 0.7% at $4.10 and Royal Nickel, up 11.1% at $0.30.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announces his budget this afternoon after the markets close, and the document is expected to be a restrained one, with just enough spending to assuage middle class voters under pressure from rising rates - while expressing caution amid uncertainty over the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The TSX Venture Exchange plummeted 11.55 points, or 1.4%, to 815.32
The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided, as consumer staples gathered 0.8%, telecoms and industrials gained 0.2%.
The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by gold, sinking 2.6%, health-care, slipping 1.7%, and materials, 1.6% to the bad.
U.S. stocks traded lower Tuesday amid testimony from new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
The Dow Jones Industrials stumbled 73.72 points, to greet noon at 25,635.55, with Disney and Home Depot contributing the most to the index's losses.
The S&P 500 subtracted 14.57 points to 2,765.02, amid weak performance in real estate and consumer discretionary stocks.
The Dow and S&P 500 have more than halved their correction losses. From the Dow and S&P's 52-week intraday highs, the indexes are down 3.4% and 3.3% respectively through Monday's close.
The NASDAQ Composite descended 50.2 points to 7,371.27, amid declines in Google-parent Alphabet and Adobe.
Macy's stock surged more than 4% after the company reported better-than-expected earnings results. In an interview, CEO Jeff Gennette said same-store sales were up 3% in January.
In merger and acquisition news, Comcast announced a cash offer Tuesday to buy European pay-TV group Sky for 22.1 billion pounds ($31 billion U.S.). Meanwhile, deal talks between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen have stalled without an agreement.
Powell, the new chair, signaled the central bank could hike rates more than three times this year should economic and inflation data continue to prove healthy.
On the data front, U.S. home prices increased 6.3% compared to December 2016, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home prices index. The rally in prices comes as demand skyrockets against record low supply.
U.S. consumer confidence topped 130.8 in February, a 17-year high. Feelings about short-term economic prospects accelerated in January after declining sharply the month before. The index takes into account Americans' views of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell sharply, lowering yields to 2.92% from Monday’s 2.86%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices shook off 98 cents a barrel to $62.93 U.S.
Gold prices dropped $15.70 to $1,317.10 U.S. an ounce.