Stocks Finish Flat

Facebook Rises

Stocks rode the flatline as the closing bell rang in Toronto Wednesday, as gains in staples were counteracted by losses for energy and health-care.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index ducked 5.05 points lower to end Wednesday at 15,910.63

The Canadian dollar slid 0.57 cents to 78.2 cents U.S.

Consumer staples led the parade of gainers, headed by Loblaw Companies, ahead 55 cents to $68.52, while Restaurant Brands International gained $1.07, or 1.4%, to $78.27.

Telecoms proved next on the list as Rogers Communications Inc rose 56 cents to $65.98 after reports it is considering the sale of the Blue Jays baseball team and its stake in Cogeco Inc.

Shares in TELUS Corporation gained 49 cents, or 1%, to $48.16.

Among industrials, Westjet Airlines rose four cents to $26.44 after announcing a joint venture with Delta Air Lines to boost trans-border flights.

Bombardier gained a penny to $3.18.

Energy stocks sputtered, as Enbridge slid five cents to $48.76, while Crescent Point Energy weakened 37 cents, or 4%, to $8.96.

Health-care issues were pointed solidly downward by Wednesday’s close, as Canopy Growth darted lower 42 cents, or 2.2%, to $18.34, while rival Aphria dipped 21 cents, or 1.6%, to $13.32.

Materials stocks also got bruised, as First Quantum Minerals lost six cents to $14.50, while Agnico Eagle Mines dropped 85 cents, or 1.6%, to $53.04.

The Bank of Canada made its last rate announcement for 2017, and, as expected, maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1%. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1.25% and the deposit rate is 0.75%


The TSX Venture Exchange finished negative 0.28 points to 783.66

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups closed the session in the green, as consumer staples climbed 0.9, while telecoms and industrials jumped 0.8%.

The five laggards were weighed most by energy, down 2.2%, while health-care dozed 1.8%, and materials lost 0.4%.


Tech stocks rose on the back of gains in Facebook. The rest of the market took a pause as investors awaited more details on what the final tax overhaul from Congress will look like.

The Dow Jones industrials lost 39.73 to 24,140.91, despite with Microsoft rising 1.5%.

The S&P 500 fell 0.30 points to 2,629.27, as information technology rose 0.8%, while energy lost 1.3% amid falling oil prices. Tech stocks posted consecutive gains after being pressured over the past week.

The NASDAQ recovered 14.16 points to 6,776.38, as Facebook share gained nearly 2%. Evercore ISI initiated Facebook with an outperform rating. Analyst Anthony DiClemente said Facebook will lead the "FANG" stocks higher in 2018.

In corporate news, drone maker AeroVironment shares hit an all-time high after the company posted strong quarterly sales.

Meanwhile, OSI Systems plunged nearly 30% after famed short seller Carson Block called the company "rotten to the core."

Companies reporting earnings Wednesday include H&R Block Inc., Brown Forman Inc., and NCI Building Systems Inc.

Financials, one of the sectors that would theoretically benefit greatly from lower corporate taxes, have been on a tear recently. The sector is up 1.4% over the past week. Tech, meanwhile, is down more than half a percent in the same period.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained small ground, lowering yields to 2.34% from Tuesday’s 2.35%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices deleted $1.65 a barrel to $55.97 U.S.

Gold prices gained $1.70 to $1,266.60 U.S. an ounce.