Canadian stocks were lingering in the red Wednesday morning as traders were cautious ahead of Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker's meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens and the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's July 31st-August 1st meeting.
Meanwhile, Canadian retail sales dropped unexpectedly in June, indicating a weaker trend in consumer spending.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 32.10 points or 0.26 percent to 12,084.82.
Latest data from the EIA revealed that U.S. crude oil inventories dipped 5.4 million barrels and gasoline stocks were down 1 million barrels in the weekended August 17. Analysts expected crude oil inventories to dip by 2 million barrels and gasoline stocks to shed 1.25 million barrels last week.
Crude for October was up $0.17 to $97.01 a barrel.
In the oil patch, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and MEG Energy (MEG.TO) were down just over 1 percent each.
Fertilizer maker Potash Corp. (POT.TO) shed nearly 1 percent, while Agrium Inc. (AGU.TO) was adding nearly 1 percent.
Among base-metals stocks, Teck Resources (TCK_B.TO) shed over 1 percent, while Inmet Mining (IMN.TO) was gaining 1 percent.
Telecommunications company Telus Corp. (T.TO) slipped 0.25 percent after it said that it is putting a new proposal to exchange its non-voting shares into common shares on a one-for-one basis to a democratic vote of all its shareholders.
The price of gold was firm near its three-month high Wednesday morning amid hopes that the European Central Bank will take steps to reduce borrowing costs for Spain and Italy. Gold for December eased $0.40 to $1,642.50 an ounce.
Among gold plays, Kirkland Lake Gold (KGI.TO) rose nearly 2 percent. Heavyweights, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Goldcorp. (G.TO) were adding about 1 percent each.
Silver mining company Dolly Varden Silver Corp. (DV.V) gained 8 percent after it said a wholly owned subsidiary of Hecla Mining Co. (HL) would acquire 20 million of it's common shares.
In economic news, Statistics Canada said retail sales declined 0.4 percent to $38.7 billion in June, more than offsetting the gain in May. Lower sales were reported in 7 of 11 sub-sectors, representing 64 percent of retail trade. In volume terms, retail sales edged down 0.1 percent. Economists were expecting for a 0.1 percent increase in sales.
From south of the border, the National Association of Realtors said existing home sales rose 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.47 million in July from 4.37 million in June. Economists had been expecting existing home sales to climb to an annual rate of 4.50 million.
Earlier today, data out of Japan revealed a wider-than-expected trade deficit for July, with merchandise deficit widening to 517.382 billion yen in the month compared with forecasts for a shortfall of 270.0 billion yen following the downwardly revised 60.3 billion surplus in June.
by RTT Staff Writer
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