Toronto Stocks Close Lower

Canada sheds 7,100 jobs in December

Stocks in Toronto closed in the red Thursday as investors digested the latest ADP report on jobs and a fresh round of interest rate hikes from the nations top banks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index was off 42.23 points Thursday to 16,284.47.

TransCanada (TRP.TO) said it received strong commercial support for its Keystone XL pipeline and closed its window for shippers to sign up for committed capacity, taking it one step closer to starting construction on the project. TransCanada has secured firm, 20-year commitments for about 500,000 barrels per day of oil and oil equivalents as it concluded its open season for the project, the company said on Thursday.

Husky (T.HSE) shares fell 6.77 percent to $17.77 after it said on Wednesday evening that Canadian regulators had ordered it to halt operations at its SeaRose floating production vessel after an iceberg came too close to the facility in March 2017.

In earnings -- railroad operator Canadian Pacific Railway (T.CP) quarterly profit more than doubled, helped by an income tax gain of C$527 million ($424 million) due to the new U.S. tax code. CP’s net income rose to C$984 million, or C$6.77 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from C$384 million, or C$2.61 per share, a year earlier. The Calgary-based company’s total revenue rose to C$1.71 billion from C$1.64 billion.

On the economic front -- Canada shed 7,100 jobs in December, driven by cuts in the manufacturing, education and trade sectors, according to a report from ADP released on Thursday.

Canada’s biggest banks will hike their prime rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Thursday. The Royal Bank of Canada was first to announce its prime rate will rise to 3.45 percent, shortly after the Bank of Canada raised its key short-term rate by a quarter-point to 1.25 percent.

The Canadian dollar inched up 0.011 cents at 80.49 cents U.S.

West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, rose 0.13% to $64.05 a barrel after U.S. crude inventories dropped 6.9 billion barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. The decline was wider than analysts expected.

Gold prices finished lower on Thursday, suffering from their largest one-day decline in more than a month. February gold fell $12, or 0.9%, to settle at $1,327.20 an ounce.


ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dipped 8.17 points to 876.79.

Five of the TSX subgroups were higher Thursday with consumer staples stocks up 0.62%, tech issues ahead 0.15% and financial stocks ahead 0.11%.

On the downside, base metal issues dipped 2.01%, gold stocks were off 1.65% and health-care stocks shed 1.42%.

Decliners on the TSX outpaced advancers 936 to 734 with 245 issues unchanged.

ON WALLSTREET

US stocks traded lower on Thursday following a record-setting day during the previous trading session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5% to 25,975 after rising at the open to a fresh intraday high.

The Dow closed down 97.84 points lower at 26,017.81 after falling 168.33 points at its session lows. The S&P 500 alternated between gains and losses throughout the session before closing 0.2 percent lower at 2,798.03.

The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 2.23 points to 7,296.05.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares rose slightly after the tech giant moved to pump around $350 billion into the U.S. economy over the next five years, pay a tax bill of roughly $38 billion on an undefined portion of its $252.2 billion overseas cash pile, announced plans to spend $30 billion on both existing company sites and a new campus, and said it would increase its headcount by around 20,000.

Wyndham Worldwide Corp. said it would pay $1.95 billion in cash to buy La Quinta Holdings Inc.’s hotel franchise and management business. La Quinta shares were up 3.8%.

In economic news -- Weekly jobless claims fell to a 45-year low, falling by 41,000 to 220,000. Meanwhile, construction on new houses fell 8.2% in December to a 1.19 million annual rate, with economists polled forecasting housing starts to total 1.28 million. Permits for future construction were basically flat at 1.30 million.

A gauge of Philadelphia-area manufacturing fell to five-month low of 22.2 in January, the Philadelphia Fed said Thursday.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 3.1 basis points to 2.611%, its highest close level since September 2014.