Stocks in Doldrums by Noon

Gold Stocks Drag Their Feet

Equities in Toronto fell marginally by noon EDT on Thursday, led by declines in shares of material companies on the back of lower gold prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 49.79 points to open Thursday’s session at 16,100.18

The Canadian dollar subtracted 0.15 cents at 75.05 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Birchcliff Energy, which rose 15 cents, or 4.2%, to $3.69, after brokerage BMP raised their price target on the stock.

Alamos Gold fell 28 cents, or 3.6%, the most on the TSX, to $6.82, in line with other gold miners tracking lower gold prices.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada’s new housing price index stated new housing prices fell in January for the first time since February 2018. The national index declined 0.1% in January, following five consecutive months of unchanged prices.


The TSX Venture Exchange dipped 4.08 points Thursday to 620.14

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative midday, with gold fading 2.4%, while materials weakened 1.9%, and health-care stocks trailed 0.9%.

The three gainers were utilities, fighting their way up 0.3%, while energy and real-estate each squeaked up 0.03%.


Stocks were little changed on Thursday following weaker-than-expected housing data, as major indexes recovered from small losses earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 33.81 points by noon to 25,736.70

The S&P 500 regained 3.13 points to 2,814.05

The NASDAQ Composite regrouped 6.86 points to 7,650.27.

Facebook shares were among the big decliners, sliding 2% after a worldwide outage of its core app, Instagram and WhatsApp. The social media company's stock was also under pressure after The New York Times reported federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals the company made with other tech giants.

Apple shares rose more than 0.5% after Cowen initiated coverage of the company with an outperform rating and a $220 price target. Cowen cited potential long-term upside from Apple's services business.

Snap, meanwhile, rallied more than 8% after BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield — a longtime skeptic of the social media company — upgraded the stock to buy for the first time.

General Electric seesawed after the industrial giant issued weaker-than-expected earnings guidance for 2019. The stock initially fell around 4% in the pre-market before turning around to trade 3.7% higher.

New home sales fell 6.9% in January — which was more than expected and a sign the U.S. government shutdown could have kept buyers on the sidelines.

Media reports are circulating that China and the U.S. are trying to push back a meeting between the countries' two leaders from late March to April at the earliest. This comes after Trump said he was in no rush to form an agreement. Bloomberg's report comes after China's industrial output expanded at its slowest rate in 17 years.

Investors expected the two leaders to meet at Mar-a-Lago later this month as both sides claimed progress was being made on trade negotiations.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury were somewhat lower, raising yields to 2.64% from Wednesday’s 2.61%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices improved 34 cents to $58.60 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices lost $14.20 to $1,295.10 U.S. an ounce.