Equities Tail Off by Close

Alamos, New Gold in Focus

Stocks in Canada’s largest centre struggled to find the breakeven point Thursday, as gold and tech were overwhelmed by losses among energy concerns.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained negative 20.18 points to conclude Thursday at 16,113.62

The Canadian dollar was negative 0.3 cents at 77.58 cents U.S.

Among the largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Alamos Gold and New Gold. Alamos picked up 35 cents, or 5.2%, to $7.08, while New Gold leaped 17 cents, or 5.8%, to $3.09.

Tech stocks made a name for themselves, primarily Constellation Software, vaulting $27.48, or 2.8%, to $1,016.54, and BlackBerry, up three cents to $14.90.

In materials, Constantine Metal Resources gained 11 cents, or 16.7%, to 77 cents, while Teck Resources picked up 42 cents, or 1.2%, to $35.50.

Meg Energy fell 42 cents, or 4.3%, to $9.27, and was among the biggest decliners. Elsewhere in energy, Suncor dropped two cents to $52.19.

In telecoms, Rogers Communications backpedaled $1.02, or 1.6%, to $61.65.

Among financials, shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 32 cents to $75.82, after Canada's second-biggest lender by market value reported second-quarter earnings that were ahead of market expectations.

Royal Bank of Canada reported second-quarter results, sending shares of Canada's biggest lender by market value down $2.01, or 2%, to $99.11.

Aecon Group fell $2.64, or 15.2%, to $14.70, the most on the TSX, after Canada blocked a proposed $1.51-billion takeover of the construction company by a Chinese state builder on national security grounds.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported that in March, 471,500 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits, down 7,300 (-1.5%) from February. The agency says the decline continues a downward trend in the number of beneficiaries that began in the autumn of 2016.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange stepped back 0.44 points to 780.58

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, as gold climbed 1.7%, information technology advanced 1.3%, and materials grew 1.1%.

The five laggards were weighed most by energy, off 1%, while telecoms and financials regressed 0.5% each.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks closed lower Thursday after President Donald Trump announced that the hotly anticipated summit next month with North Korea had been cancelled.

The meeting would have been the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

Trump's letter included a mix of both friendly and threatening language, including praise for North Korea's recent release of three American prisoners and a warning about the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its lows of the morning, but still trailed Wednesday’s close by 75.05 points to 24,811.76,

The S&P 500 slumped 5.53 points to 2,727.76, thanks to a 1.6% fall in energy stocks and a slip in oil prices.

The NASDAQ handed back 1.53 points to 7,424.43

News of the cancellation came shortly after the Commerce Department said that it started an investigation into whether automobile imports "threaten to impair the national security" of the United States.

Shares of electronics and technology retailer Best Buy fell more than 7% Thursday morning after the company reported quarterly earnings. Though the company posted solid quarterly comparable sales and earnings, its online sales growth decelerated.

Domestic online comparable sales growth slowed to 12% growth in the U.S. from a year ago, compared to 22.5% growth.

Best Buy's chief financial officer, Corie Barry, added that the company is not upgrading its full fiscal year outlook during the earnings conference call.

All signs continued to point to a tight labour market, with Thursday's data on new applications for U.S. unemployment rising just slightly to 234,000 for the week ended May 19.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury were higher, lowering yields to 2.98% from Wednesday’s 2.99%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell $1.18 at $70.66 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $14.60 at $1,304.20 U.S. an ounce.