Canada's main stock index lumbered lower on Wednesday as gains in technology shares were offset by a drop in Valeant Pharmaceuticals after it gave a weaker-than-expected revenue forecast.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index tumbled 79.84 points to pause for noon hour Wednesday at 15,591.31
The Canadian dollar fell 0.24 cents to 78.06 cents U.S.
Valeant was the biggest drag on the index, down 10.9% at $21.16 after the drug maker gave a disappointing outlook for 2018 with several of its major drugs facing more competition from generics.
Resource companies gave up early gains with energy stocks like Suncor Energy, which fell 0.2% to $43.53.
The technology sector was up, helping to temper declines. Among advancing shares, CGI Group rose 0.7% to $75.44, while Shopify rose 1.6% to $178.9.
Aurora Cannabis was among the most actively traded stocks by volume, gaining 5.1 percent to $10.39. Volume on the TSX index was 33.53 million shares.
The Trudeau government tackled long-term growth challenges on Tuesday in a budget aimed at boosting women in the workforce and diversifying trade, while keeping its fiscal powder dry in case of an economic shock like the demise of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
On the data front, Statistics Canada said its industrial product price index rose 0.3% in January, mainly due to higher prices for energy and petroleum products.
The agency also said its raw material price index increased 3.3% during the same month, primarily as a result of higher prices for crude energy products, during the same month.
The TSX Venture Exchange strengthened 5.51 points to 820.69
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups lost ground, particularly health-care, dropping 2.7%, while industrials and financials lost 0.1% each
The five gainers were led by information technology, marching ahead 0.6%, while utilities took on 0.3%, and consumer staples were better by 0.1%.
U.S. stocks traded higher on Wednesday as interest rates stabilized, putting the major averages closer to the levels seen before their 10% pullback.
The Dow Jones Industrials shrank 61.01 points to reach noon Wednesday at 25,349.02, with United Technologies as the best-performing stock in the index.
The S&P 500 dropped 1.9 points to 2,742.38, with consumer discretionary climbing 0.6%.
The NASDAQ Composite reversed 2.21 points to 7,328.14, as shares of Amazon, Netflix and Apple all rose.
Wednesday also marked the last trading day of the month. Entering the session, the Dow and S&P 500 were on track to snap 10-month winning streaks, their longest since 1959. The NASDAQ was set to post a monthly loss for the first time in eight months.
In corporate news, home improvement retailer Lowe's reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings, sending the company's stock down more than 6%.
Booking Holdings — formerly known as Priceline — saw its shares spike more than 8% after reporting better-than-expected adjusted earnings.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained slightly, lowering yields to 2.88% from Tuesday’s 2.90%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices slumped $1.03 a barrel to $61.98 U.S.
Gold prices added $2.80 at $1,321.40 U.S. an ounce.