TSX Dips From All-Time High by Noon

Telecoms Fall, Health-Care on Rise

Markets in Canada’s largest centre demurred from all-time highs in morning trade on Wednesday, despite strength from health-care and energy stocks, as U.S. crude prices hit their highest level since July last year.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index doffed 14.71 points to greet noon at 16,061.94

The Canadian dollar tacked on 0.28 cents to 78.56 cents U.S.

Among health-care issues, Valeant Pharmaceuticals improved 72 cents, or 3.5%, to $21.18, while Canopy Growth acquired 54 cents, or 2.9%, to $18.90.

The largest percentage gainer on the index was NexGen Energy Ltd, which rose 20 cents, or 6.4%, to $3.33, while the most influential was Canadian Natural Resources, which added 39 cents to $44.20.

The move higher for oil was in part due to TransCanada Corp cutting crude flows from Canada into the United States. TransCanada fell $1.33, or 2.1%, to $62.92.

Among losing groups, specifically, telecoms, TELUS sank 48 cents, or 1%, to $48.23, while Rogers Communications slid $1.23, or 1.8%, to $68.36.

Tech stocks were punished, too, as Constellation Software dropped $4.40 to $752.59.

Real-estate stocks, such as Collier’s International, weakened 63 cents to $78.43.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faded 2.86 points by noon to 791.69

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups had slumped midday, as telecoms lost 1%, information technology fell 0.9%, and real-estate backed off 0.3%.

The five gainers were headed by health-care, advancing 1.8%, while gold triumphed 0.7%, and energy took on 0.6%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as Wall Street looked ahead to the release of a summary from the Federal Reserve's meeting earlier this month.

The Dow Jones industrial average descended 69.9 points by lunch hour to 23,520.93, with Johnson & Johnson declining 0.9% to lead decliners.

The S&P 500 slid 2.42 points to 2,596.61, with real estate and information technology as the worst-performing sectors. HP Enterprise was the worst-performing stock in the index.

The NASDAQ Composite gained 1.99 points on top of Tuesday’s all-time high, to 6,864.52

U.S. markets are closed Thursday for Thanksgiving.

Losses in the major stock indexes were muted as key companies reported stronger-than-expected earnings. Tractor maker Deere reported quarterly earnings and revenue that surpassed analyst expectations. The company's stock jumped 4.3%. Deere also issued strong earnings guidance for the coming fiscal year.

HP Enterprise on Tuesday also reported better-than-expected sales and earnings, but its stock fell more than 8% after CEO Meg Whitman announced she will step down from her role early next year.

Salesforce and Gamestop's earnings also topped analyst expectations.

Overall, this earnings season has been solid. With 97.8% of the S&P 500 having reported, calendar third-quarter earnings are up 6.3% on a year-over-year basis, according to FactSet. Also, about 74% of companies have posted earnings that have surpassed expectations.

Investors will be looking for clues about whether the central bank will raise rates next month in the Fed minutes, a move which is widely expected. Market expectations for a December rate hike are at about 92%, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

Investors will also look for clues about the Fed's path toward normalizing monetary policy.

The Fed minutes are set to be released at 2 p.m. in New York.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.34% from Tuesday’s 2.36%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices improved $1.05 a barrel to $57.88 U.S.

Gold prices advanced $8.50 to $1,290.20 U.S. an ounce.