Stocks Cling in Narrow Gains

U.S. Bank Stocks in Focus

Stocks in Canada’s largest centre eased into negative territory, as losses in the health-care field overrode gains in consumer discretionary concerns

The S&P/TSX Composite Index rolled lower 12.48 points to close Tuesday at 16,029.64

The Canadian dollar slumped 0.35 cents to 78.03 cents U.S.

The consumer discretionary group added strength, with discount store chain Dollarama Inc up $1.63, or 1% at $165.01 after Eight Capital raised its price target on the stock to $185 from $150.

Elsewhere, Canadian Tire ballooned in price $3.63, or 1.6%, to $233.63.

Utilities made headway, as Hydro One took on eight cents to $22.88, while Fortis Inc. gained seven cents to $48.19.

Among consumer staples, Alimentation Couche-Tard picked up 52 cents to $64.78 after reporting both earnings and revenue above consensus analyst expectations. Restaurant Brands International – parent of Tim Hortons – progressed 44 cents to $84.60.

Health-care stocks went south, however, by the closing bell, as Valeant Pharmaceuticals docked four cents to $21.00, while Canopy Growth faltered 78 cents, or 4%, to $18.85.

Telecoms were in the minus column, as Rogers toppled 55 cents to $68.27, while BCE stumbled 25 cents to $62.04.

Among financials, Bank of Nova Scotia fell $1.70, or 2%, to $81.78 after reporting earnings that slightly missed expectations and saying it had agreed to buy Spanish lender Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA's stake in BBVA Chile BHI.SN for $2.2 billion.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported that its industrial product price index rose 1.0% in October, mainly due to higher prices for motorized and recreational vehicles.

The agency’s raw materials price index zoomed increased 3.8%, primarily due to higher prices for crude energy products.

Producer prices data for October was expected to show an increase of 0.5% compared with a fall of 0.3% in September.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange lost 3.69 points to 791.70

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower Tuesday afternoon, as health-care surrendered 1.4%, while telecoms slid 0.6%, and financials dipped 0.3%.

The five gainers were led by consumer discretionary stocks, up 1%, utilities, up 0.4%, and consumer staples, up 0.2%

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks finished at record highs on Tuesday as the Senate took a step toward passing a bill aimed at reforming the U.S. tax code.

The Dow Jones Industrials Average sprinted 255.93 points, or 1.1%, to close Tuesday at 23,836.71, with JPMorgan Chase leading advancers.

The S&P 500 thundered ahead 25.62 points, or 1%, to 2,627.04, as financials climbed 2.6%; the sector also had its best session since March 1.

The NASDAQ Composite added 33.84 points to 6,912.36.

The Senate Budget Committee approved the Senate's tax plan on Tuesday, bringing the upper chamber closer to a floor vote, which is expected to take place Thursday.

The good vibes made their presence felt among the bank stocks. Bank of America shares jumped 4% while Citigroup advanced 3.2%

Expectations of tax reform have been a boon for U.S. stocks. Goldman Sachs sees a 50% chance tax reform is accomplished this year and an 80% chance it gets done in 2018.

In corporate news, Arby's Restaurant Group agreed to buy Buffalo Wild Wings for $157 per share, or $2.4 billion excluding debt. Buffalo Wild Wings rose 6.3%.

Meanwhile, Emerson Electric withdrew its $225 per share bid to buy Rockwell Automation. Emerson's stock rose 3.7%.

On the data front, the U.S. National Home Price NSA Index rose 6.2% in September, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller. Meanwhile, consumer confidence rose to a 17-year high in November.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.33% from Monday’s 2.34%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dropped 19 cents a barrel to $57.92 U.S.

Gold prices dipped $1.20 to $1,293.20 U.S. an ounce.