The Canadian stock market ended lower on Wednesday, led by losses in consumer staples, healthcare and industrials sections. Energy stocks ended on a mixed note. The materials section saw some buying thanks to higher gold prices.
The mood was cautious with investors weighing the impact of the U.S.-China trade dispute on the global economy and due to the delay in Canada and the U.S. reaching a deal on renewing the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Reports say that the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland met U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for their fourth set of talks in four weeks in Washington with the two sides still disagreeing on major issues.
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeu reportedly wants flexibility from the U.S. if the two sides are to reach a deal on renewing Nafta.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 46.12 points, or 0.28%, at 16,149.92. The index touched a high of 16,229.99 during the session. On Tuesday, the Index ended up 113.73 points, or 0.71%, at 16,196.04,
The Capped Healthcare Index ended more than 3% down, with some big stocks in the section drifting lower on profit taking after recent gains. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) declined by 5.75%, Aphria Inc. (APH.TO) tanked 7.3% and Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO) ended 3.8% down. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) ended 1.4% down.
The Capped Industrials Index shed 1.07%. Canadian National Railway Company (CNR.TO), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO), Waste Connections Inc. (WCN.TO), SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC.TO) and Ritchie Bros. (RBA.TO) gained 1%-2%.
Meanwhile, Finning International Inc. (FTT.TO) climbed up 4.4% and Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) gained 1.8%, Consumer staples stocks Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.B.TO), Saputo Inc. (SAP.TO), Empire Company (EMP.A.TO), Cott Corporation (BCB.TO) declined by 1% to 1.3%.
The Capped Telecommunications Index shed 1.96%. Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI.B.TO) declined by 2.3%, TELUS Corporation (T.TO) eased by about 2.1% and BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) ended 1.3% down.
Among bank stocks, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) ended lower by nearly 0.5%. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce (CM.TO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) ended with modest gains.
In the Energy space, Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) declined by 1.4%, Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU.TO) ended 1.2% down and PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) shed 1%.
Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO) climbed up 2.6%, Vermilion Energy Inc. (VET.TO) gained 1.6% and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) advanced by about 2.1%.
In the materials space, Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) gained 1.25%, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) jumped 4.35%, Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM.TO) advanced by 1.1% and Methanex Corporation (MNX.TO) ended 1.7% up. CCL Industries Inc. (CCL.TO) declined by 3.5%.
Among other stock markets, Wall Street turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday, although the Dow climbed to its best closing level in nearly eight months. The broader Nasdaq and S&P 500 ended the day roughly flat.
In U.S. economic news, data released by the Commerce Department showed a sharp increase in new residential construction in the U.S. in the month of August, although the report also showed a steep drop in building permits during the month.
The Commerce Department said housing starts spiked by 9.2% to an annual rate of 1.282 million in August from the revised July estimate of 1.174 million. Meanwhile, the report said building permits tumbled by 5.7% to an annual rate of 1.229 million in August from a revised 1.303 million in July.
Asia ended mostly higher on Wednesday amid hopes that China will increase economic stimulus to soften the blow of the higher U.S. tariffs. Higher oil prices also underpinned investor sentiment.
European markets posted modest gains on speculation that China will increase economic stimulus and on hopes China and the U.S. will resume contentious trade talks after the latest tariff round.
In economic news from Europe, U.K. consumer price inflation increased unexpectedly to 2.7% in August from 2.5% in July, a government report showed. This was the highest rate since January.
A report from the European Central Bank said the euro area current account surplus decreased in July largely due to a fall in visible trade surplus. The current account surplus fell to a seasonally adjusted EUR 21 billion in July from EUR 24 billion in June.
In commodities, crude oil futures for October delivery ended up $1.27, or 1.8%, at $71.12 a barrel, the highest settlement since July 10.
Gold futures for December ended up $5.40, or about 0.5%, at $1,208.30 an ounce, the highest settlement price in a week.
Silver futures for December ended up $0.095, at $14.280 an ounce, while Copper futures closed lower by $0.0010, at $2.7295 per pound.
by RTTNews Staff Writer
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