TSX at Loss by Noon

Shopify, Potash in Focus

CORRECTS WORDING IN THE S&P PARAGRAPH

Canada’s main stock index plummeted on Wednesday, hurt by a sharp fall in the shares of Canadian National Railway, while an earnings beat helped push Royal Bank of Canada higher.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index tumbled 77.1 points to greet noon at 15,952.54

The Canadian dollar slumped 0.24 cents to 77.79 cents U.S.

CN Rail fell as much as 4.9% to its lowest level since March, and was last down 2.8% at $97.18. Its main rival, Canadian Pacific Railway, said it was adding several senior sales executives.

Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.6% to $101.06 after the country’s biggest bank by market value reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations.

Shopify Inc fell 4.6% to $136.89, erasing gains the e-commerce software company’s stock had made after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost ground as prices for gold as well as copper, aluminum and other base metals fell.

Potash Corp added 0.9% to $25.16 after its chief executive said he expects a "very tight" balance of potash supply and demand in 2018 and that the company had received “broad interest” from Chinese buyers interested in its stake in a Chilean lithium producer.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange deleted 7.89 points to 783.81

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower through lunch hour, as information technology lost 3%, health-care ailed 2%, and gold dulled in price 1.5%.

The two gainers were energy, up 0.3%, while financials tacked on 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 reached all-time highs on Wednesday as investors bet the U.S. economy's momentum would continue.

The Dow added another 55.44 points to 23,892.15. UnitedHealth, Verizon Communications and JPMorgan Chase were the best-performing stocks in the Dow.

The S&P 500 settled 3.98 points to 2,623.11, from Tuesday's record high, as a decline in tech stocks offset a strong performance from the financials sector.

The NASDAQ Composite collapsed 103.55 points to 6,808.80, as Facebook, Netflix, and Alphabet all traded sharply lower.

Shares of Rite Aid and Sears Holdings surged 15.8% and 6.6%, respectively.

In corporate news, Chipotle Mexican Grill said it has begun searching for a new CEO, with current Chief Executive Steve Ells becoming executive chairman. The fast-casual restaurant's stock jumped more than 2%

Meanwhile, analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Allergan to overweight from equal weight, noting that "fears about a 'better Botox' may be overdone." Allergan's stock rose more than 3%.

The U.S. economy has picked up steam this year, growing at an annualized rate of more than 3% each of the past two quarters.

The Commerce Department released its second read on third-quarter U.S. Gross Domestic Product, which showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 3.3%. The number matched estimates and surpassed an initial read of 3% growth.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note stumbled, raising yields to 2.38% from Tuesday’s 2.33%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dropped 92 cents a barrel to $57.07 U.S.

Gold prices dipped $11.40 to $1,287.80 U.S. an ounce.