TSX Grinds Higher

RBC, Rogers in Vogue


Stocks in Toronto clawed their way into positive territory on Thursday as modest gains in the influential financial group helped offset see-sawing energy and materials stocks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index eked up 13.85 points to greet noon on Thursday at 15,796.01

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.12 cents to 80.11 cents U.S.

The losses were offset by shallow, but influential, gains among bank stocks. Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.7% to $100.76.

Rogers Communications was among the biggest drags on the index, sliding 0.7% to $66.39 as it signed up fewer internet customers than expected. The decline also comes after shares have rallied more than 6% over the last three weeks.

Auto parts maker Magna International fell 1.5% to $67.59, reversing the previous day’s gains after it said it was forming an electrified powertrain joint venture in China.

The fall also come amid concerns over the uncertain future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its potential impact on the auto industry.

The energy group retreated as the price of oil fell, with Encana Corp down 1.4% to $14.49.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, was nearly flat, with Wheaton Precious Metals Corp climbing 2.1% to $25.45 and Teck Resources slipping 0.7% to $27.41.

The price of gold rebounded from one-week lows as a rally in equities and the U.S. dollar ran out of steam. Copper prices fell for a third straight day as investors took profits after prices rallied above $7,000 a tonne for the first time since September 2014 earlier this week, and after data showed economic growth in China was in line with expectations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his finance minister on Wednesday amid criticism that Bill Morneau did not place his assets in a blind trust, moving to dampen a growing controversy that threatens to overshadow the government's agenda.


On the economic beat, Statistics Canada came out with employment insurance figures for August, and revealed that the number of beneficiaries decreased by 9,600, or 1.8%, to 524,200 in August, continues a downward trend that began last October.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 1.15 points to 783.54

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were off midday, as health-care weakened 1.1%, while telecoms and consumer discretionary stocks each dropped 0.6%.

The five gainers were led by gold, up 0.6%, industrials and financials each garnering 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities fell on Thursday following a record-setting session the day before

The Dow Jones Industrials index dropped 24.06 points from Wednesday’s all-time record to 23,133.54. Tech giant Apple saw its stock decline 2.7%, amid speculation of poor demand and cuts in production of iPhone 8. The stock was on track to post its biggest one-day decline since Aug. 10.

The S&P 500 let go of 4.47 points to 2,556.82, with information technology and consumer staples leading decliners. United Continental shares were the biggest decliners in the index, falling more than 11%.

The NASDAQ faltered 42.28 points to 6,581.94. Facebook, Google-parent Alphabet, Netflix and Amazon all fell about 1%.
Wall Street also continued to digest corporate earnings reports.

EBay reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue along with earnings per share that met expectations. However, the company reported mixed guidance for the fourth quarter, sending the stock down 1.8%.

Insurance giant Travelers posted quarterly earnings per share that easily beat Wall Street expectations. Philip Morris also reported quarterly earnings, but fell short of expectations; its stock dropped 3.7%.

This earnings season is off to a good start, with 73% of companies reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue

The move lower on equities took place exactly 30 years after "Black Monday," the worst day in U.S. stock-market history. On that day, the S&P 500 plunged 20.5% and the Dow dropped 22.6%.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note revived, lowering yields to 2.31% from Wednesday’s 2.34%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices skidded 71 cents a barrel to $51.33 U.S.

Gold prices regained $6.60 an ounce to $1,289.60 U.S.