Stocks Cool off by Noon

Turquoise Hill, MEG Prove Big Gainers

Stocks in Toronto faded by noon ET Thursday, although energy companies were lifted by higher oil prices, but gains were limited by losses in precious metal miners weighed down by lower gold prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite dropped 38.52 points to greet noon at 16,270.71

The Canadian dollar was down 0.06 to 75.20 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Turquoise Hill Resources, which jumped two cents, or 3.1%, to 67 cents, and MEG Energy Corp, which rose seven cents, or 1.4%, to $5.04.

CannTrust Holdings fell five cents, or 2%, to $2.43, while Saputo Inc., was down $1.85, or 4.4%, to $39.85, after it announced plans to raise $599 million in equity.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said wholesale sales rose 0.6% to $64.1 billion in June, partly offsetting the 1.9% decline in May. The agency went on to say sales were up in four of seven sub-sectors, representing 54% of total wholesale sales.

Also, in June, 442,600 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits, a figure virtually unchanged from the previous month.

The number of EI beneficiaries in June increased in Quebec, while it decreased in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange eked higher 0.93 points to 576.83

All but three of 12 Toronto subgroups were lower midday, as health-care scaled back 1.6%, consumer staples were weaker by 1.3%, and industrials slipped 0.9%

The three gainers were energy, up 0.5%, while financials were up 0.2%, and consumer discretionary stocks advanced 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks were lower on Thursday, giving up earlier gains as fears of an economic recession built up ahead of a key speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had faded to Wednesday’s closing figure of 26,202.28,

The S&P 500 gave back 3.64 points to 2,920.79

The NASDAQ faded 40.89 points to 7,979.32

Weak U.S. manufacturing data added to worries of a recession. IHS Markit said manufacturing activity in the U.S. contracted this month for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Nordstrom shares jumped more than 10% after the retailer reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analyst expectations. The company cited "inventory and expense discipline" for the strong results.

Dick’s Sporting Goods traded more than 4% higher on better-than-expected results for the previous quarter. Comparable-store sales, a key metric for retailers, topped analyst expectations. The company also raised its full-year forecast.

The results from Nordstrom and Dick’s add to a strong batch of retail earnings. On Wednesday, Target and Lowe’s surged after releasing corporate earnings results that topped estimates. Those results lifted sentiment across the market and sent the Dow up more than 200 points.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan are both set to comment on the world’s largest economy later in the day at an annual central banking symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

But the summit’s main event is set for Friday, when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to deliver a speech that traders will parse through for clues on future monetary policy.

The Fed cut interest rates by 25 basis points in July. Experts opine market expectations for another rate cut in September are at 93.5%

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell back, raising yields to 1.60% from Wednesday’s 1.58%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices slumped 80 cents to $54.38 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slid $5.50 to $1,510.20 U.S. an ounce.