Canadian stocks ended sharply lower Wednesday, driven mainly by resource and financial shares, with commodity prices declining on eurozone concerns creeping in after some weak economic data from Europe.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Wednesday at 11,781.09, down 82.41 points or 0.69 percent. The Index touched an intraday high of 11,884.21 and a low of 11,780.19.
The Metals & Mining Index slipped 0.31 percent, with Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) down 1.04 percent and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) down 1.45 percent. Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN.TO) dropped 1.41 percent, while Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) gained 2.24 percent.
The Financial Index dropped 0.79 percent with Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) down 1.22 percent, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) down 0.95 percent, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) slipped 0.48 percent. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) surrendered 1.99 percent.
The Energy Index lost 1.16 percent with U.S. crude oil futures for September delivery slipping $0.32 or 0.3 percent to close at $93.35 a barrel Wednesday on the NYMEX.
Among energy stocks, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) slipped 1.43 percent, Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) shed 1.55 percent, and Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) down 0.84 percent.
The Global Gold Index was down 1.02 percent, with gold futures for December delivery gaining $3.40 or 0.2 percent to close at $1,612.80 an ounce Wednesday on the NYMEX. The Capped Materials Index shed 0.88 percent.
Among gold stocks, Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) dropped 0.89 percent, while Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) was down 1.12 percent. Eldorado Gold Corp. (ELD.TO) dropped 3.66 percent.
West Africa focused gold miner Avion Gold Corp. (AVR.TO) surged 21.43 percent after stating it would be acquired by Endeavour Mining Corp.
Fertilizer maker Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) slipped 1.44 percent.
Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) gained 0.80 percent, while Blackberry maker Research In Motion Limited (RIM.TO) gained 3.28 percent.
Communications company BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) gained 2.43 percent after reporting a second-quarter profit of C$773 million or C$1.00 per share from C$590 million or C$0.76 per share in the same quarter last year. The company raised its fiscal 2012 adjusted net income outlook to a range of C$3.15 - C$3.20 per share from the prior range of C$3.13 - C$3.18 per share.
Home renovation and gardening products retailer Rona Inc. (RON.TO) edged down 0.15 percent after reporting that its second-quarter consolidated revenues rose C$47,1 million or 3.4 percent to C$1,417.1 million or C$0.36 per share. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.37 per share.
Caterpillar equipment dealer Finning International Inc. (FTT.TO) rose 2.98 percent after posting second-quarter net income of C$81 million or C$0.47 per share, down from C$82 million or C$0.48 per share last year.
Air Canada's (AC_B.TO) second-quarter net loss widened to C$96 million or C$0.35 per share from C$46 million or C$0.17 per share a year ago. Adjusted net loss per share was C$0.05, compared to a loss of C$0.01 in the same quarter last year. The stock plummeted 8.70 percent.
In economic news, labor productivity in the U.S. rose more than expected in the second quarter, a report by the Labor Department showed Wednesday. Nonetheless, the report also indicated a sharper than expected jump in labor costs.
Productivity in the second quarter increased by 1.6 percent following a revised 0.5 percent drop in the first quarter. Economists expected productivity to increase by about 1.3 percent compared to the 0.9 percent decrease originally reported for the previous quarter.
In economic news from the eurozone, the Bank of England lowered growth estimate for the U.K. as fiscal consolidation and euro zone debt crisis weigh on demand. In its quarterly Inflation Report, the BoE said economic growth is likely to be around 2 percent in two years, down from the 2.6 percent expansion estimated in May.
Meanwhile, German trade surplus unexpectedly increased in June as imports declined at a pace double than that of exports, indicating that the sovereign debt crisis and the economic slowdown has dampened both domestic and foreign demand. Exports fell 1.5 percent month-on-month on a calendar-and-seasonally adjusted basis, the Federal Statistical Office showed Wednesday. This was faster than economists' forecast for a 1.3 percent drop.
Germany's industrial production decreased more-than-expected in June, adding to fears that the economy may have contracted in the second quarter, preliminary data showed Wednesday. Overall industrial production fell a calendar-and-seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent from May, the Ministry of Economics and Technology said. Economists anticipated a decline of 0.8 percent.
Nonetheless, Fitch Ratings affirmed Germany's triple-A credit rating on Wednesday with stable outlook, citing the longstanding credit strengths and robust economic performance of the country over the past two years.
by RTT Staff Writer
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