Stocks Open Little Changed

Brookfield, Innergex in Focus

Stocks in Canada’s largest market opened fairly flat on Wednesday, supported by gains in Manulife Financial and the banking sector, as well as a bounce-back in shares of cannabis companies.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index took on 26.61 points to open Wednesday at 15,390.54

The Canadian dollar was down 0.1 cents at 79.87 cents U.S.

Manulife, for its part, is weighing the sale of a number of U.S. insurance assets after conducting a strategic review of its U.S. operations including John Hancock.

Manulife shares gained 15 cents to $25.25.

Embraer SA and Bombardier Inc are targeting the Chinese market with a limited offering of smaller aircraft for regional airlines because they are allowed to only operate jets with 100 seats or less, according to company executives.

Bombardier shares were unchanged at $3.18.

TerraForm Power, controlled by Brookfield Asset Management, has launched a 995-million-euro ($1.2-billion U.S.) takeover bid for Spanish renewable energy firm Saeta Yield to expand its presence in Western Europe.

Brookfield shares dipped nine cents to $49.45.

BMO cut the target price on Innergex Renewable Energy to $15.00 from $19.00. Innergex gave back two cents to $13.99.

RBC cut the target price on Klondex Mines to $3.00 from $4.50. Klondex shares lost 13 cents, or 5.5%, to $2.25.

Credit Suisse raised the price target on Stelco Holdings to $32.00 from $29.00. Stelco Holdings shares gained 30 cents, or 1.3%, to $23.89.

On the economic docket, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion in building permits in December, up 4.8% following a 7.3% decline in November. The agency attributes the December increase to higher construction intentions in the residential sector.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 9.85 points, or 1.2%, to start Wednesday off at 830.50

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher in the first hour, with health-care haler by 2.5%, real-estate improving 0.8%, and consumer discretionary stocks better by 0.4%.

The three laggards were consumer staples and information technology, each down 0.4%, while telecoms retreated 0.03%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose in choppy trade Wednesday as Wall Street tried to build on the strong gains set in the previous session.

The Dow Jones Industrial leaped 217.27 points to 25,130.04.

The S&P 500 gained 19.01 points to 2,714.15, with telecommunications as the best-performing sector.

The NASDAQ advanced 18.75 points to 7,134.63

The latest moves come after three volatile sessions in which fear of rising inflation sent interest rates higher, pressuring equities. Traders also blamed computerized trading and sharp moves in obscure volatility funds that use leverage for the market's recent swings.

On Tuesday, the 30-stock index swung 1,167.5 points before closing 567 points higher.

But despite Tuesday's sharp close higher, the Dow is down 4.4% since Friday. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ, meanwhile, are down 4.4% and 3.8%, respectively, since then.

In corporate news, earnings season remained in full swing Wednesday with Hasbro and Michael Kors reporting before the bell. Hasbro posted mixed results, with sales missing expectations. The stock rose nearly 3% after falling more than 4% pre-market.

21st Century Fox, Tesla Motors, IAC/InterActive, Yum China and Yelp are expected to publish updates after the bell.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note were unchanged at Tuesday’s 2.8%.

Oil prices gained 38 cents a barrel to $63.77 U.S.

Gold prices dropped $2.40 to $1,327.10 U.S. an ounce.