Stocks negative by noon

Amazon hits record high

Equity markets in Canada’s largest centre slipped on Monday, as a sharp drop in oil prices weighed heavily on the energy group.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 77.46 points as the clock approached noon ET to 16,483.66

The Canadian dollar was up 0.22 at 76.16 cents U.S.

Syncrude Canada on Friday told buyers it would cut crude deliveries in August by about 35% after an outage last month at its oil sands site in northern Alberta.

Syncrude parent firm Suncor fell $1.11, or 2%, to $54.09.

Top percentage gainer on the TSX was shares of West Fraser Timber Co, which jumped 4.4% after RBC raised its rating for the stock. West Fraser gathered $1.41, or 1.5%, to $92.83.

Second-highest advancer was found in shares of NFI Group, which rose 2.8% after posting its second-quarter delivery numbers. NFI shares galloped $2.07, or 4.3%, to $50.60.

Guyana Goldfields fell 10.6%, top decliner on the TSX, after cutting its 2018 gold production. Guyana shares dropped 88 cents, or 18.3%, to $3.94.

On the economic scene, Statistics Canada reported foreign investment in Canadian securities slowed to $2.2 billion in May, down from $9.1 billion in April. Meanwhile, Canadian investors resumed their investment in foreign securities by adding $5.7 billion worth to their holdings, mainly in foreign bonds.

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association show national home sales rose 4.1% from May to June. Actual (not seasonally-adjusted) activity was down 10.7% from June 2017.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faded 6.02 points to 719.22.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower midday, as health-care issues slouched 3.5%, energy slumped 2.1%, and industrials subtracted 0.9%.

The five gainers were led by consumer staples, up 0.5%, while telecoms and utilities improved 0.1% each.

ON WALLSTREET

Shares of Amazon hit an all-time high on Monday, while the broader stock market struggled for gains as the corporate earnings season kicked into full swing.

The Dow Jones Industrials was just 0.69 points south of breakeven to stop for lunch at 25,018.72, with Caterpillar, Chevron and Exxon Mobil as the biggest laggards.

The S&P 500 dipped 4.88 points to 2,796.43, as a decline in energy stocks offset gains in financials.

The NASDAQ fell 13.2 points to 7,812.77, as Netflix declined 0.9% ahead of its earnings release.

Amazon rose 0.8% as Prime Day got underway. Sales during last year's Prime Day surged 60% and reached a record.

BlackRock reported second-quarter earnings and revenue before the bell, along with Bank of America and J.B. Hunt Transport Services. BlackRock's earnings were driven in part by a lower corporate tax rate, while Bank of America got a boost from cost cuts and lower taxes. J.B. Hunt's results were helped by higher rates and increased volume.

Bank of America gained 1.9%, while BlackRock shares slipped 0.5%. J.B. Hunt dropped nearly 4% after rising as much as 6.7%.

Wall Street has high hopes for this earnings season, with analysts expecting second-quarter profits to have grown by 20% from last year.
Earnings for the first quarter grew by 24%.

So far, just 5.7% of S&P 500 companies have reported second-quarter results. Overall, 86% of those companies have posted better-than-expected earnings, with profits growing by 20.1%.

Retail sales rose 0.5% in June, in line with expectations, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury dropped, raising yields to 2.87% from Friday’s 2.83%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices tumbled $1.99 to $69.02 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices eked up 20 cents to $1,241.40 U.S. an ounce.