Canadian stocks ended lower for a fourth straight day Thursday, on eurozone concerns after the much awaited European Central Bank meeting outcome disappointed investors with no concrete proposals forthcoming to tackle the financial crisis. Investor hopes were heavily pinned on ECB President Mario Draghi's assurances last week that the central bank would do "whatever it takes" to protect the euro. Yesterday, stocks were under pressure after the Federal Reserve refrained from introducing any new stimulus measures.
Nevertheless, Draghi at a press conference explained the ECB's decision to hold steady on interest rates, while assuring that policy makers "will consider undertaking further non-standard measures" if conditions deteriorate. Draghi said the European Central Bank may craft plans in the coming weeks to make outright purchases of bonds, but warned the central bank cannot act alone to bring down borrowing costs.
Meanwhile, borrowing costs on Spain's 10-year government bond jumped to 6.86%, while the yield on 10-year Italian bonds surged to 6.15% following the ECB meet outcome.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Thursday at 11,506.50, down 112.03 points or 0.96 percent. The The Index touched an intraday high of 11,611.16 and a low of 11,475.43.
The Metals & Mining Index gained 0.41 percent, led by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) surging 6.13 percent, despite reporting lower second-quarter earnings of $142.0 million or $0.30 per share compared to $155.3 million or $0.33 per share last year.
Among other mining stocks, Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) dropped 0.70 percent and Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) shed 2.81 percent.
The Financial Index slipped 0.81 percent with Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) down 0.89 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) down 0.47 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) fell 1.19 percent, while Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) slipped 1.24 percent.
The Energy Index dropped 2.03 percent with U.S. crude oil futures for September delivery plunging $1.78 or 2 percent to close at $87.13 a barrel Thursday on the NYMEX.
Among energy stocks, Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) slipped 2.33 percent, Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) shed 4.46 percent, and Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) edged down 0.75 percent.
Petrominerales (PMG.TO) plummeted over 18 percent after reporting a much lower third quarter earnings.
The Global Gold Index dropped 0.49 percent, with gold futures for December delivery shedding $16.60 or 1.0 percent to close at $1,590.70 an ounce Thursday on the NYMEX. The Capped Materials Index dropped 0.84 percent.
Among gold stocks, New Gold Inc. (NGD.TO) gained 1.30 percent. Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) dropped 5.62 percent, while Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) dropped 0.73 percent. Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) dropped 0.81 percent.
Fertilizer maker Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) dropped 2.30 percent.
Transportation systems maker Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) dropped 2.78 percent, while Blackberry maker Research In Motion Limited (RIM.TO) shed 2.23 percent even after announcing the launch of its new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with built-in support for cellular networks.
Financial services company Home Capital Group (HCG.TO) added 1.19 percent after reporting improved second quarter net income of C$53.2 million or C$1.54 per share. Excluding a tax adjustment, net income for the latest quarter was C$55.2 million or C$1.60 per share. Analysts expected earnings of C$1.53 per share for the quarter.
Communications and consumer electronics company Wi-Lan Inc. (WIN.TO) dropped 3.73 percent after reporting a second-quarter loss of $0.1 million or breakeven per share, compared to earnings of $10.3 million or $0.08 per share last year. Adjusted earnings at $10.1 million or $0.08 per share were in line with analysts' estimates.
Oil transporter Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) slipped 1.51 percent after reporting a steep decline in second-quarter earnings at C$11 million or C$0.01 per share compared to C$302 million or C$0.40 per share last year. Adjusted earnings were C$0.36 per share up from C$0.34 per share last year. Analysts expected earnings of $0.38 per share. The stock was down 1 percent.
Centerra Gold (CG.TO) lost 3.70 percent after reporting a second-quarter net loss of $54.6 million or $0.23 per share compared to a profit a year ago. Analysts expected a loss of $0.14 per share for the quarter.
Insurance services provider Great-West Lifeco Inc. (GWO.TO) reported second quarter net profit of C$491 million or C$0.517 per share, lower than C$526 million or C$0.553 per share last year. Analysts estimated earnings of C$0.48 per share for the quarter. The stock gathered 0.19 percent.
International pharmaceuticals company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX.TO) added 0.11 percent after slipping to a second-quarter net loss of $21.6 million or $0.07 per share, compared to a profit of $56.36 million or $0.17 per share last year.
In economic news from the U.S, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims crept up to 365,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 357,000. Economists expected jobless claims to climb to 370,000 from the 353,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Despite continued strength in the transportation sector, new U.S. factory orders showed an unexpected drop in June, reversing a smaller than previously reported increase in May. The Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods decreased by $2.1 billion or 0.5 percent in June. With the decrease, factory orders fell in three of the last four months. Economists expected orders to increase by about 0.7 percent.
In other economic news, eurozone industrial producer prices fell 0.5 percent month-on-month in June, the same decline as seen in the prior month, Eurostat reported. The rate was marginally bigger than the expected decrease of 0.4 percent.
The Bank of England today maintained the asset purchase program at GBP 375 billion and the key interest rate at a historic low of 0.50 percent, as widely expected.
by RTT Staff Writer
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