|TSX flat at finish|
Equity markets in Canada’s largest centre were virtually unchanged on Thursday as a drop in gold-mining shares offset gains in most other sectors, while investors continued to digest U.S. Federal Reserve comments on its policy outlook.
The S&P/TSX composite index inched higher 6.66 points to end the day at 15,465.54
The Canadian dollar gained 0.44 cents to 91.36 cents U.S.
Financials advanced as Royal Bank of Canada climbed 0.8% to $83.11, and Bank of Montreal added 0.7% to $85.42.
The gold-mining sector dropped with Goldcorp losing 2.6% to $26.63 and Barrick Gold declining 2.1% to $17.52.
In corporate news, Penn West Petroleum said it was strengthening its accounting practices after a review uncovered irregularities that forced the company to restate some of its previous results. Shares of the oil producer jumped 7.8% to $8.33.
On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reports that just as many Canadians were on the pogey in July as the month before. The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in July totaled 499,300, little changed from the previous month.
Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries decreased 2.9% or 14,900.
Also, the agency said Canadian investors added $9.7 billion of foreign securities to their portfolios in July, the largest such investment since April 2007. Meanwhile, foreign investors acquired $5.3 billion of Canadian securities, mostly corporate instruments.
The TSX Venture Exchange fell back 6.72 points to 965.79.
Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were lower on the day, as gold tumbled 1.9%, materials shed 1.5%, and the metals and mining group dipped 1.3%
The half-dozen gainers were perked mostly by financials, up 0.5%, while telecoms and utilities were up 0.3% each.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record levels on Thursday as investors welcomed the Federal Reserve’s commitment to low interest rates long after the ending of monetary stimulus.
The Dow Jones Industrials bolted higher 109.14 points to 17,265.99.
The S&P 500 added 9.79 points to 2,011.36. The NASDAQ moved forward 31.24 points to 4,593.43.
Alibaba is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday morning. The initial public offering could raise over $25 billion, making it the biggest ever.
Rite Aid Corp. is tumbled 19% after the drugstore chain slashed its outlook, blaming generic drugs.
Pier 1 Imports Inc. sank 18% after earnings fell short of hopes and the company cut its forecast for the year late Wednesday.
Better-than-expected reading on jobless claims was countered by disappointing data from the housing market. Applications for jobless benefits dropped to the lowest level since mid-July, signaling that employers are laying off very few workers, according to government data released Thursday.
However, construction started on new U.S. homes tumbled in August, pulling back after a surge in July, signaling some shakiness in the housing market’s recovery, according to government data released Thursday.
China’s central bank cut short-term borrowing costs for banks on Thursday, the same week it announced a cash injection into the country’s five biggest banks.
Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries sagged, raising yields to 2.63% from Wednesday’s 2.60%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices dropped $1.35 to $93.07 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices went down $9.80 to $1,226.10 U.S. an ounce.