Stocks Flat By Close

Resource Losses Outweigh Gains in Consumer Stocks

Equities in Canada’s largest market deferred somewhat Monday, as consumer staples showed some muscle to counteract decreasing prices for resource and industrial issues.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 5.48 points shy of breakeven to close Monday at 16,347.98

The Canadian dollar gained 0.22 cents at 80.31 cents U.S.

The industrials group declined as railroad shares lost ground. Canadian Pacific Railway, which reported fourth-quarter results last week, dropped $1.72 to $231.68 and Canadian National Railway was down $1.47, or 1.5%, at $99.53.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost ground as Teck Resources declined 55 cents, or 1.5% to $36.24.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Home Capital Group, which rose $1.74, or 11.2%, to $17.23, after TD Securities raised its target price on the stock to $21 from $17.

The overall financial services group, which accounts for more than one-third of the TSX’s weight, rose slightly. It was helped by gains for some of the country’s major banks, with Toronto-Dominion Bank advancing 26 cents to $74.34.

Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume was Aurora Cannabis, which rose $1.01, or 7.5%, to $14.49, after media reports circulated on Friday that the marijuana producer is in talks to buy CanniMed Therapeutics and Newstrike Resources in a friendly deal.

Energy stocks emerged in the green as Imperial Oil tallied 45 cents, or 1.1%, to $40.00

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported wholesale trade for November rose 0.7% to $63.6 billion in November, a second consecutive increase. Sales were up in six of seven sub-sectors, representing 99% of wholesale sales

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 18.14 points, or 2.1%, to 898.58

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups had turned higher by the closing bell, with consumer staples better by 0.6%, health-care climbing 0.5%, and energy 0.4% to the good.

The five laggards were weighed most by materials and industrials, each off 0.6%, while gold sagged 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks closed higher on Monday, erasing slight losses from earlier in the session, as U.S. lawmakers reached a deal that would resume government operations.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 142.88 points to 26,214.60, an all-time high.

The S&P 500 improved 22.67 points to 2,832.97, with energy and telecommunications as the best-performing sectors.

The NASDAQ added 71.65 points, or 1%, to 7,408.03, with shares of Netflix hitting a record.

Investors also paid attention to the corporate earnings season. On Monday, Halliburton reported better-than-expected earnings, sending the company's shares up 3.7%.

Netflix and TD Ameritrade are scheduled to report quarterly earnings after the bell Monday.

Elsewhere in corporate news, Twitter shares fell 1.4% after media reports that executive Anthony Noto has been offered the CEO job at Social Finance.

The calendar fourth-quarter earnings season is off to a good start. As of Friday, 68% of the S&P 500 companies that had reported surpassed earnings expectations, while 85% of those companies had beaten sales projections.

Members of the Senate reached a short-term compromise to keep the government open through Feb. 8. Democrats said the party has the assurance it needs on the budget and immigration issues.

On Saturday, the U.S. government shut down after a bill that would have kept government funded through mid-February was voted against in the Senate. The shutdown continued for a third day after the Senate on Sunday failed to reach an agreement to break an impasse before the work week began in Washington.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell, raising yields back to Friday’s 2.66%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices recovered 12 cents a barrel to $63.66 U.S.

Gold prices recovered $1.20 to $1,334.30 U.S. an ounce.