Stocks Still Tentative by Noon

Parex, Canfor in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest market enjoyed slight gains by midday Tuesday, as losses in energy firms offset gains in mining companies, while investors looked ahead to inflation data due on Wednesday for cues about economic recovery.

The TSX regained 31.49 points to stop for lunch hour at 19,506.14.

The Canadian dollar inched forward 0.05 cents to 82.95 cents U.S.

Centerra Gold rose 69 cents, or 8%, the biggest hike on the index today, to $9.35, after saying it was taking all measures possible to protect shareholder rights and is seeing good support from the Canadian and U.K. governments, a day after Kyrgyzstan seized control of the company's Kumtor gold mine.

Lithium Americas rose $1.01, or 6.3%, to $16.99.

Parex Resources fell 48 cents, or 2.3%, the most on the TSX, to $20.05,
after withdrawing second-quarter production guidance.

The second-biggest decliner was Canfor Corp, down $1.17, or 3.9%, to $28.55.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 5.26 points to 948.23.

Seven of the 12 subgroups had climbed to higher levels by noon Tuesday, as health-care hoisted 2.1%, information technology clicked 1.2% higher, and utilities bettered themselves 0.9%.

The five laggards were weighed mostly by gold and materials, each down 0.8%, while energy faded 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

Major U.S. stock indexes fluctuated on Tuesday after data showed housing starts dropped sharply last month.

The Dow Jones Industrials remained red 81.14 points to 34,246.65.

The S&P 500 skidded 5.5 points to 4,157.79,

The NASDAQ hiked 53.11 points to 13,432.15. Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all traded higher.

Better-than-expected earnings from big retailers helped support sentiment. Walmart shares jumped more than 3% after reporting strong grocery sales and e-commerce growth for the quarter. Macy’s shares rose more than 1% after the retailer posted a surprise profit and hiked its full-year outlook.

Home Depot shares rose more than 1% after stronger-than-expected quarterly results. The retailer reported earnings of $3.86 a share for the previous quarter, much higher than the $3.08 expected by analysts. Net sales surged 32.7%, more than expected.

Housing starts tumbled 9.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.569 million units last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast starts falling to a rate of 1.7 million units in April.

Growth-heavy stocks have remained under pressure in recent sessions as investors fret over whether a pop in inflation will entrench or blow over as the Federal Reserve expects. Inflation above the Fed’s 2% target for a sustained period could prompt the central bank to tighten monetary policy and dampen stocks that outperform the market when interest rates are low.

The Fed’s minutes from its last meeting, which will be released Wednesday, could offer some clues on policymakers’ thinking on inflation.

Elsewhere, the first-quarter earnings season is wrapping up with more than 90% of the S&P 500 companies having reported their results. So far, 86% of S&P 500 companies have reported a positive EPS surprise, which would mark the highest percentage of positive earnings surprises since 2008 when FactSet began tracking this metric.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys were unchanged, keeping yields at Monday’s 1.65%.

Oil prices sank $1.19 to $65.08 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices lost $2.80 to $1,864.80 U.S. an ounce.