Stocks Stay Red at Noon

Magna, Valeant Weigh

Equity markets fell on Thursday as Magna International and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International weighed, offsetting gains for energy shares as oil prices rose.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index docked 21.75 points to greet noon at 16,262.46

The Canadian dollar popped 0.28 cents at 81.23 cents U.S.

One of the biggest drags on the index was Magna, which fell 1.4% to $72.35. The automotive supplier is among companies that could be impacted by negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

U.S. negotiators have held firm in their demands for a wide-ranging overhaul of NAFTA, three sources close to the talks said on Thursday, raising questions about whether any real movement is happening at the latest negotiating round on the treaty.

Electronics manufacturing services company Celestica fell 4.6% to $12.99 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday that missed estimates.

Valeant added to Wednesday’s sharp losses, its shares having fell 4.7% to $23.37.

Canadian Natural Resources gained 0.8% to $44.97

Statistics Canada said retail sales increased for the third consecutive month in November, rising 0.2% to $50.1 billion. Sales were up in six of 11 sub-sectors, representing 37% of total retail trade.

Furthermore, the nation’s number crunchers said average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $988 in November, increasing 0.6% from October. Compared with 12 months earlier, earnings were up 2.8%, with most of the gains having occurred since July 2017.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said even he did not know what potential there may be for further interest rate hikes this year, reiterating that policymakers remained both data dependent and alert to developments with North American Free Trade Agreement.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange found its way into positive territory 1.97 points to approach noon at 895.56

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower midday, with health-care ducking 2.4%, telecoms down 0.4%, and gold, dulling in price 0.2%.

The four gainers were led by real-estate, up 0.2%, consumer staples, eking up 0.1%, and energy, inching ahead 0.03%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks traded higher on Thursday on the back of stronger-than-expected quarterly results from Caterpillar and 3M.

The Dow Jones Industrials improved on Wednesday’s all-time record by 161.07 points to 26,413.19

The S&P 500 regained 6.52 points to 2,844.06, with materials as the best-performing sector.

The tech-heavy NASDAQ muscled back up again 27.16 points to 7,442.22

Shares of Caterpillar rose as much as 2.8% before trading 0.4% higher, while 3M gained 2.7%. Celgene and McCormick (NYSE” MKC) also reported better-than-forecast quarterly earnings and sales.

Calendar fourth-quarter earnings and sales have mostly beat analyst expectations thus far. Of the companies that have reported quarterly results, 77% have beaten earnings expectations, while 79% have surpassed revenue estimates

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note regained old ground, lowering yields back to Wednesday’s 2.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 45 cents a barrel to $66.06 U.S.

Gold prices faltered $3.50 to $1,359.80 U.S. an ounce.