Canada's main stock index was little changed by noon ET Wednesday, led by materials and auto parts shares, as the resignation of Gary Cohn, top economic adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, intensified investor worries over a global trade war and its repercussions for the world economy.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index had battled to within 4.44 points of breakeven to greet noon at 15,540.75
The Canadian dollar slumped 0.21 cents to 77.02 cents U.S.
The shares of trade-sensitive auto parts companies lost ground. Magna International Inc fell 0.8% to $67.39.
Gold lost some upward momentum, as Barrick Gold dipped seven cents to $15.21, while Kinross Gold slipped eight cents, or 1.7%, to $4.73.
Energy issues lost ground, as Suncor fell four cents to $41.36.
Tech stocks bucked the general gloomy pattern, as Constellation Software climbed toward the constellations $11.15, or 1.3%. to $872.94.
Among telecoms, Rogers Communications gained 10 cents to $59.02.
The Bank of Canada did as expected Wednesday, maintaining its trendsetting rate at 1.25%.
Statistics Canada’s trade report showed this country’s merchandise trade deficit totaled $1.9 billion in January, narrowing from a $3.1-billion deficit in December. Imports decreased 4.3% and exports fell 2.1%.
The TSX Venture Exchange gave back 6.08 points to 837.49
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups moved positive by noon, as information technology clicked up 1%, while telecoms and real-estate each soared 0.5%.
The five laggards were weighed most by gold, down 1.3%, energy, skidding 0.9%, and materials, off 0.8%.
Stocks fell on Wednesday on news that Gary Cohn was resigning as President Donald Trump's chief economic advisor.
The Dow Jones Industrials surrendered 302.93 points, or 1.2%, to 24,581.19
The S&P 500 skidded 22.71 points to 2,705.41, with energy as the worst-performing sector.
The NASDAQ composite Index slouched 39.67 points to 7,332.33
Cohn, the free trade advocate and former president at Goldman Sachs, chose to step down from his position after Trump announced that he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Cohn's departure date is expected to come in the following weeks.
Shares of big metal users like General Motors and Boeing fell on the back of the announcement. Both stocks fell about 1% in early trade.
Caterpillar also fell more than 2%.
In corporate news, Shares of H&R Block rose nearly 10% after the company reported a smaller-than-expected loss for the previous quarter.
The company said in a release it had a "strong tax season."
Meanwhile, design software maker Autodesk posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, sending its stock surging by 13.2%.
In economic news, ADP and Moody's Analytics said private-sector jobs grew by 235,000 in February, surpassing an estimate of 195,000. The report is seen as a preview to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly jobs report, which is scheduled to be released Friday.
The Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book is set to be published at 2 p.m. ET.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.86% from Tuesday’s 2.88%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices gave back $1.50 a barrel to $61.10 U.S.
Gold prices weakened $8.60 at $1,326.60 U.S. an ounce.