Equities in Canada’s largest market were down slightly on Tuesday, lifted by gains in gold producers as the price of the commodity rose, while global equities markets were supported by signs North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 5.53 points to greet Tuesday noon at 15,535.75
The Canadian dollar charged up 0.44 cents to 77.49 cents U.S.
Gold producers climbed, helping to support the larger materials sector as gold prices firmed on the potential progress with North Korea.
Goldcorp rose 2.6% to $16.99, while Teck Resources advanced 1.3% to $36.75 as gold futures rose.
Canadian National Railway was among the biggest drags on the index, down 2.1% at $95.08 as CIBC cut its target price to $108.00 from $111.00. The company's chief executive officer abruptly stepped down on Monday.
Bombardier fell 7.8% to $3.69 after the company said it will sell equity to strengthen its balance sheet as part of a five-year turnaround plan.
Canopy Growth Corp was among the more actively traded stocks, up 3.3% at $33.54 after Bloomberg reported the cannabis producer had bid for Spanish firm Alcaliber SA.
Western University’s IVEY School of Business said its seasonally-adjusted Purchasing Managers’ Index increased to 59.6 in February from 55.2 in January and 55 in February 2017. A reading above 50 indicates an increase in the pace of activity.
The TSX Venture Exchange strengthened 5.61 points to 844.80
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, with gold shining 1.6% brighter, materials 1.2% better, and health-care improving 0.6%.
The five laggards were weighed most heavily by industrials, sliding 0.8%, utilities, down 0.4%, and energy, off 0.3%.
U.S. stocks traded lower on Tuesday as Wall Street feared President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, could leave the administration.
The Dow Jones Industrials tumbled 102.61 points to pause for lunch hour at 24,772.15, after opening more than 100 points higher.
The S&P 500 slid 1.32 points to 2,719.79, with utilities as the worst-performing sector.
The NASDAQ composite Index added 16.04 points to 7,346.75
Stocks started to pare gains after Bloomberg News reported citing sources that Trump was convinced Cohn would leave the administration if the tariffs proposed by the president were implemented. Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, was a champion of the tax cuts implemented by the Trump administration last year.
North Korea said there was no need to keep its nuclear program as long as there was no military threat against it and the safety of its regime was secured, the head of the South Korean presidential National Security Office, told a media briefing.
Trump announced last week the U.S. would be imposing new tariffs on aluminum and steel, before going onto threaten European carmakers with a tax on imports if the European Union retaliated over the U.S. administration's tariff plans. However, on Monday, fears eased after
Trump suggested in a tweet that he could drop tariffs if a "new and fair" North American Free Trade Agreement was signed.
In corporate news, Nordstrom shares slipped 0.8% after the company rejected an offer from the Nordstrom family to take the company private for $50 U.S. per share. The Nordstrom family has been working to take the company private since last year.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note inched ahead, lowering yields to 2.87% from Monday’s 2.88%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices inched down four cents a barrel to $62.53 U.S.
Gold prices strengthened $19.30 at $1,338.90 U.S. an ounce.