Canadian stocks were little changed Wednesday morning on weak commodities, with traders awaiting further move from the global central banks on policy easing amid a mixed batch of economic data from the U.S. While conditions for New York manufacturers have unexpectedly deteriorated, Homebuilder confidence in the U.S. has unexpectedly seen a continued improvement in the month of August.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index edged up 10.51 points or 0.09 percent to 11,864.12.
Latest data from EIA revealed U.S. crude oil inventories shed 3.70 million barrels and gasoline stocks were down 2.4 million barrels in the weekended August 10. Crude for September edged up $0.41 to $93.84 a barrel.
In the oil patch, Bonterra Energy (BNE.TO) was down over 3 percent. Forbes Energy Services Ltd. (FRB.TO) dived 20 percent after reporting poor second quarter financial results.
Petroleum and natural gas company Canadian Energy Services & Technology Corp. (CEU.TO) slipped 0.50 percent after it said its second quarter profit declined to C$3.4 million or C$0.06 per share from C$5.5 million or C$0.10 per share in the same period last year. Analysts expected the company to earn C$0.12 per share for the quarter.
The price of gold was flat Wednesday morning as the U.S. dollar was steady amid inflation data. Gold for December edged up 4.30 to $1,606.70 an ounce.
Among gold plays, Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) were down around 1 percent each.
Metal products company Martinrea International Inc. (MRE.TO) shed over 6 percent after reporting second-quarter net earnings of C$14.4 million or C$0.17 per share, compared to C$15.5 million or C$0.19 per share last year. However, adjusted earnings rose to C$24.1 million or C$0.29 per share from C$16.6 million or C$0.20 per share last year. Analysts were expecting the company the report earnings of C$0.31 per share for the quarter.
Metal mining company HudBay Minerals, Inc. (HBM.TO) said its second-quarter loss narrowed to C$30.4 million or C$0.17 per share from C$171.9 million or C$0.97 per share in the same period last year. Loss from continuing operations was C$30.4 million, compared to a profit of C$41.1 million last year. Analysts were expecting the company the report earnings of C$0.08 per share for the quarter. The stock was down over 3 percent.
Base-metals miner Capstone Mining Corp. (CS.TO) lost just over 2 percent after reporting that its second-quarter net earnings was $12.5 million or $0.03 per share, compared to $15.5 million or $0.07 per share in the same quarter last year. Adjusted net earnings were $15.1 million or $0.04 per share, down from $17.7 million or $0.08 per share in the previous year quarter. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.03 per share in the quarter.
Meanwhile, precious metals miner High River Gold Mines Ltd. (HRG.TO) added over 1 percent even after reporting a lower second-quarter profit of C$31.6 million or C$0.04 per share compared to C$41.4 million or C$0.05 per share in the same period last year.
In economic news from south of the border, the U.S. Labor Department said consumer price index for July showed that prices were unchanged for the second consecutive month. Economists had been expecting prices to edge up by about 0.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the core consumer price index crept up by 0.1 percent in July after rising by 0.2 percent in each of the four previous months. The core index had been expected to show another 0.2 percent increase.
Meantime, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said its general business conditions index dropped to a negative 5.9 in August from a positive 7.4 in July, with a negative reading indicating a contraction in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest decrease to a positive 7.0.
A report from the National Association of Home Builders showed that the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index climbed to 37 in August from 35 in July. The increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the index to come in unchanged compared to the previous month.
Elsewhere, Bank of England policymakers unanimously decided to retain quantitative easing at GBP 375 billion and the interest rate unchanged at 0.50 percent, the minutes of the meeting held on August 1 and 2 showed today.
Meanwhile, latest data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the number of Britons claiming jobless benefits unexpectedly declined in July. The claimant count declined by 5,900 persons monthly to 1.59 million in July. Economists had expected the figure to climb by 6,000. The measure was higher by 35,600 person from a year ago.
by RTT Staff Writer
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