Toronto Stocks Take Breather Thursday

Energy, Health-care Plunge

Equities in Canada’s largest market took some profits after weeks of consecutive gains, as losses in the energy and health-care sectors weighed most heavily on the main index.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 53.32 points to close the day at 15,747.08

The Canadian dollar faded 0.08 cents to 80.21 cents U.S.

Suncor Energy was among the biggest drags on the index, falling 86 cents or 2% to $42.13, alongside Cenovus Energy, down 82 cents, or 2%, to $40.68.

Health-care stocks also took it on the chin, with Canopy Growth Corporation, tumbling 69 cents, or 5.1%, to $12.90, while Aphria lost seven cents to $7.77.

Among consumer discretionary stocks, Magna International dipped 45 cents to $67.82, while Gildan Interactive settled eight cents to $38.67.

On the positive side, Alimentation Couche-Tard rose 2.4% to $60.37. The company is buying back 4.4 million of its shares that were held by Metro and Eight Capital upgraded the company to a “buy” from “neutral,” citing positive trends. Metro shares faded 15 cents to $41.84.

In the real-estate area, MCAN Mortgage nosed up three cents to $15.87.

Utilities also made their way up, as Fortis Inc. took on 20 cents to $45.66, while Hydro One eked up nine cents to $22.71.

On the data front, Statistics Canada said new house prices in Canada rose 3.8% year-over-year in August.

The agency says prices for new homes were unchanged in 15 of the 27 census metropolitan areas surveyed, including Toronto and Vancouver. For Toronto, this was the third consecutive month of flat readings.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange shaved off 0.25 points to finish at 791.07.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups remained lower on the day, as health-care and energy each tailed off 1.5% and consumer discretionary issues were off 0.5%.

The four gainers were led by consumer staples, up 1%, real-estate, ahead 0.6%, and utilities, better by 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday as Wall Street digested earnings from some of the top financial companies.

The Dow Jones Industrials surrendered 31.88 points from Wednesday’s all-time high to 22,841.01,

The S&P 500 backtracked 4.31 points from Wednesday’s peak to 2,550.93,

Equities have risen sharply this year, with the S&P 500 advancing 14% in that time period.

Historically, this earnings season has been the best one for investors. Some media reported the S&P 500 posts a gain of 2.3% on average 30 days after third-quarter earnings season begins, trading in positive ranges 79% of the time.

The NASDAQ slid 12.04 points from Wednesday’s record high to 6,591.51

JPMorgan Chase reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations. The banking giant, however, also reported a 27% year-over-year decline in fixed income trading revenue.

Citigroup also posted better-than-expected quarterly results, driven by growth in its global consumer business.

Other major financial companies slated to report this week include Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Wall Street also set its sights on economic data Thursday. The U.S. Labor Department said producer prices south of the line rose 0.4% last month and 2.6% in the 12 months through September.

Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims totaled 243,000, hitting a more than one-month low, the department also said.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.32% from Wednesday’s 2.35%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices skidded 66 cents a barrel to $50.64 U.S.

Gold prices gained $6.70 to $1,295.60 U.S. an ounce