TSX Down by Finish

Iamgold Punished, Likewise Agnico

Stocks in Canada’s largest centre struggled to within a few points of breakeven, having struggled all day to get above water, after several days of strong gains.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index ended Thursday down 30.38 points to 16,000.86

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.29 cents at 75.63 cents U.S.

Among gold plays, Iamgold fell 27 cents, or 5.4%, to $4.67, while Hudbay Minerals lost 25 cents, or 2.9%, to $8.30.

In the energy sector, Suncor stepped back 19 cents to $$45.05, while Canadian Natural Resources gave back 37 cents, or 1%, to $36.90.

Among materials, Agnico Eagle Mines lopped off 60 cents, or 1%, to $57.04, while Domtar dipped 17 cents to $70.40.

Real-estate holdings co-led the small crop of gaining subgroups, Colliers International Group took on three cents to $91.72.

In communications, Rogers improved 43 cents to $73.07, while BCE claimed 18 cents to $57.86.

In the industrial sector, Air Canada vaulted 35 cents, or 1.1%, to $33.24, while Canadian National Railway advanced 39 cents to $113.78.

The federal government will unveil its budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year on March 19 and outline ways to provide more access to prescription drugs, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Wednesday

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada said in December, 446,300 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits, up 4,600 or 1.0% from November.

The agency also said wholesale trade rose 0.3% to $63.1 billion in December following a 1.1% decline in November. In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 0.3%.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange eased 0.72 points to 621.61.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups finished the day in the red, as gold lost 0.9%, energy wavered 0.8%, and materials weakened 0.7%

The five gainers were co-led by communications and real-estate, each up 0.2%, while industrials inched up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Thursday following the release of lackluster U.S. economic data and amid ongoing trade discussions between the Trump administration and its Chinese counterparts.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 103.81 points to 25,850.63, as Walgreens Boots Alliance lagged.

The S&P 500 wilted 9.82 points to 2,774.88, led lower by the energy and health-care sectors

The NASDAQ Composite swooned 29.36 points to 7,459.71, breaking its win streak at eight consecutive sessions.

Nike shares fell 1% after star Duke University basketball player Zion Williamson broke his shoe at the start of a highly anticipated game. The break led to Williamson hurting his knee.

Durable goods orders for December, meanwhile, rose 1.2%, the Commerce Department said. The department also said core capital goods orders fell 0.7%, while economists expected a gain of 0.2%.

IHS Markit also said its U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 53.7 in February, a 17-month low, from 54.9 last month.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board's leading economic index fell for the second straight month in January, marking the index's first back-to-back pullback since early 2016.

The data releases come a day after the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its January meeting. The minutes highlighted downside risks to the U.S. economy, including "a rapid waning of fiscal policy stimulus, or a further tightening of financial market conditions."

However, the Fed also hinted it may end its balance-sheet normalization process faster than expected. This would be positive for equity investors, as many see the reduction of the balance sheet as a form of tighter monetary policy.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slid, raising yields to 2.69% from Wednesday’s 2.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices doffed 31 cents to $56.85 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices fell $21.80 to $1,326.10 U.S. an ounce.