Stocks Flat by Noon Hour

Barrick, Cenovus in Focus


Markets in Toronto were little changed by the middle of Thursday after touching a record high as Barrick Gold Corp jumped on the company's better-than-expected profits, but that was offset by a drop in Sun Life, which reported a decline in earnings.

The S&P/TSX Composite sagged 15.13 points to greet noon at 15,829.82

The Canadian dollar pulled ahead 0.06 cents of 76.58 cents U.S.

Barrick was the biggest lift on the index, jumping 6% to $26.79, the day after the miner announced stronger-than-anticipated profit and a debt reduction plan.

Goldcorp also drove the market higher as lower costs at its gold mines in the Americas helped its quarterly profit beat expectations. Its stock was up 4.1% at $22.72.

Among energy stocks, Cenovus Energy sustained a 2.3% gain, as the oil and gas producer reported an unexpected quarterly profit and the stock was up at $18.38.

But a drop in shares of Sun Life Financial kept overall market gains in check after the insurer reported a drop in quarterly underlying profit. Sun Life was down 3% at $51.05.

Bombardier fell 3.1% to $2.50 after it posted lower-than-expected revenue on weak demand in its rail and business aircraft divisions.

Bombardier has struggled in recent years as it brings its new CSeries jet program to the market. The federal government agreed last week to provide aid to the company.

On the economic ledger, Statistics Canada reported that folks drawing employment insurance in December numbered 568,000, down 3,200 or 0.6% from the previous month.

Also, the Canadian Real Estate Association said national home sales declined 1.3% from December 2016 to January 2017. CREA said actual (not seasonally-adjusted) activity in January was up 1.9% from a year earlier.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange improved 5.01 points to 843.15

Eight of the 12 subgroups were lower by lunch hour, with health-care slouching 2.8%, consumer staples doffing 0.8%, and energy 0.4% less energetic.

The four gainers were led by gold, up 1.4%, real-estate, up 0.6%, and utilities, up 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities slipped Thursday, taking a breather after posting records closes for five straight days.

The Dow Jones Industrials stepped back 21.73 points from Wednesday’s all-time high to 20,590.13, with Goldman Sachs and UnitedHealth contributing the most losses.

The S&P 500 dropped 6.03 points to 2,343.22, with energy leading decliners.

The NASDAQ tumbled 16.97 points to 5,802.47

In corporate news, investors pored over quarterly results from CBS, Wendy's, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Marriott, to name a few reporting companies.

Economic data continued to come in strong Thursday, with weekly jobless claims holding around their lowest levels in more than 40 years, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index hit its highest level since January 1984.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.45% from Wednesday’s 2.5%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slipped 18 cents to $52.93 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices added eight dollars to $1,241.10 U.S. an ounce.