Stocks Lurch Lower by Noon

Health-Care Stocks Fade

Equities in Canada’s largest centre traveled lower on Wednesday, weighed by declines for Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc and Canadian National Railway Co, while gold mining stocks were boosted by higher gold prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 68.39 points to greet noon hour Wednesday at 16,289.16

The Canadian dollar leaped 0.4 cents at 80.94 cents U.S.

The largest decliner on the index was Valeant, down 7.7%,after Goldman Sachs gave the shares a “sell” rating.

CN Rail fell 1% to $99.09 after reporting a lower-than-expected adjusted profit for the fourth quarter, hurt by the heavy expenses its has incurred to grow its business.

Marijuana producer CanniMed Therapeutics Inc jumped 16.9% to $43.85 after Aurora Cannabis, Canada’s second-biggest producer, agreed to buy the company for $1.1 billion.

Officials opened a key round of negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement on Tuesday amid optimistic signs, as U.S. President Donald Trump said the talks were going “pretty well” and Canada’s chief negotiator said he had high hopes for progress.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange fell back 7.2 points to 892.72

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower midday, with health-care sliding 3.6%, telecoms down 1.1%, and energy off 0.8%.

The three gainers were gold, up 1.7%, materials, ahead 1.3%, and consumer discretionary, nicking up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities were mixed on Wednesday on the back of stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings results.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off their highs of the day, but were still positive 60.32 points to 26,271.13

The S&P 500 gave back 1.31 points to 2,837.82

The tech-heavy NASDAQ stepped back 37.53 points from Tuesday’s all-time record, to 7,422.75

Abbott Laboratories, United Technologies, Baker Hughes and Comcast all reported earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations.

Of the S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Tuesday morning, 77% have beaten earnings estimates, while 80% have topped revenue expectations

Equities have kicked off 2018 with strong gains. The major indexes are up at least 6% year to date as strong earnings and a lower corporate tax rate help maintain optimism in the economy.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note waned, raising yields to 2.66% from Tuesday’s 2.62%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 32 cents a barrel to $64.79 U.S.

Gold prices advanced $16.60 to $1,353.30 U.S. an ounce.