Resources Weigh on Early, Flat Markets

AGF, Canacol in Focus

Shares in Canada’s largest market little changed in early trade on Thursday, as gold and base metal miners weighed with a fall in commodity prices and heavyweight financials rose.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index deducted 0.1 points to open Thursday at 15,389.50

The Canadian dollar slid 0.12 cents to 80.97 cents U.S.

Hundreds of Eldorado Gold workers fearing job losses marched through Athens on Thursday, hours before a deadline imposed by the Canadian miner over permits expires.

Eldorado shares took on five cents to $2.80.

Villagers in the Peruvian Amazon have shut down at least 50 oil wells operated by Frontera Energy Corp to protest talks over a new contract even as past pollution lingers, the leader of an indigenous federation said on Wednesday.

Frontera shares gave back $1.25, or 3%, to $40.60.

CIBC raised the price target on AGF Management to $7.50 from $6.00. AGF shares forfeited six cents to $7.58.

Canaccord Genuity cut the target price on Canacol Energy to $4.75 from $5.15. Canacol shares lost 10 cents, or 2.3%, to $4.19.

On the economic ledger, Statistics Canada reported Thursday morning that wholesale sales rose 1.5% to $62.4 billion in July, following a 0.6% decline in June.

Sales were up in five of the seven sub-sectors, representing 86% of total wholesale sales.

The agency also revealed the number of Canadians drawing regular employment insurance benefits jumped in July for the first time in eight months as 536,600 people received regular EI benefits, up 6,800, or 1.3%, from June.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange stumbled 2.33 points to 774.33

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups gave way during the first hour of trading, as materials lost 0.9%, gold dulled in price 0.6%, and energy proved 0.5% less spectacular.

The three gainers were financials, picking up 0.4%, industrials, eking up 0.03%, and consumer discretionaries, breaking breakeven by 0.01%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell slightly on Thursday after the Dow Jones industrial average touched a record led by bank stocks. Investors are now betting on another rate hike from the Federal Reserve by December.

The Dow Jones Industrials lost 36.4 points from Wednesday’s all-time high at 22,376.19, with Apple and IBM contributing the most to the losses.

The S&P 500 subtracted 7.82 points from Wednesday’s all-time record to 2,500.42, with information technology and telecommunications contributing the most to the losses.

The NASDAQ fell 39.54 points to 6,416.47, with shares of Apple down 1.5%

Financial stocks are expected to be active again following hawkish comments from the central bankers as higher interest rates generally correlate with increased profits for the sector. Shares of JPMorgan and Citigroup both climbed over 1% immediately after the announcement.

Regional banks were on pace for their fifth straight day of gains for the first time since Feb. 15.

Investors are also keeping an eye on shares of both Alphabet and Apple Thursday. Alphabet subsidiary Google announced late Wednesday that it signed a $1.1-billion cooperation agreement with Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC to bolster its smartphone and emerging hardware business.

Apple is being scrutinized for its upcoming launch of the Apple Watch Series 3, which reportedly has an issue that could prevent the device from placing and receiving phone calls and text messages.

U.S. weekly jobless claims fell by 23,000 to 259,000, below expectations of 300,000.

The Fed announced Wednesday it will begin rolling off its $4.5-trillion balance sheet starting in October. The central bank did not raise its benchmark interest rate from its current 1% to 1.25% target, however, its updated rate forecast showed that another hike this year is likely.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note peeked up, lowering yields to 2.26% from Wednesday’s 2.27%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell 41 cents a barrel to $50.28

Gold prices sank $21.40 to $1,295 U.S. an ounce