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TSX Ends Flat

After swinging between gains and losses during much of the day's session, the Canadian stock market ended flat on Wednesday.

Investors, digesting Canadian inflation data, and the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy statement, remained reluctant to build up positions.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index hit a new high at 20,295.18 towards the fag end of the session, settled at 20,230.96, down 0.36 points from Tuesday's close.

Energy, materials, consumer discretionary and industrials shares drifted lower. A few stocks from the financial section posted strong gains, while stocks from information technology, telecom, healthcare and real estate sectors ended mixed.

Energy stocks Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO), MEG Energy Corp (MEG.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) and Arc Resources (ARX.TO) ended lower by 1.5 to 2.3%.

In the materials section, Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO) drifted down by more than 7%. Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO), Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Methanex Corp (MX.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) shed 1 to 2%.

Linamar Corp (LNR.TO), Martinrea International (MRE.TO), Magna International (MG.TO), Brp Inc (DOO.TO) and Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.A.TO) were among the major losers in the consumer discretionary section.

Among the stocks in the Industrials Index, Transcontinental Inc. (TCL.A.TO), Mullen Group (MTL.TO), Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) and Brookfield Business Partners (BBU.UN.TO) declined sharply.

Among information technology stocks, BlackBerry (BB.TO) and Hut 8 Mining Corp (HUT.TO) declined 7.4% and 5%, respectively.

In the banking space, Canadian Western Bank (CWB.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) gained 0.8 to 2.25%.

Data released by Statistics Canada showed Canada's annual inflation rate accelerated to 3.6% in May from 3.4% in April. It was the highest jump in consumer prices since May 2011. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose by 0.5% in May, the same in the past three months.

Core consumer prices in Canada increased 2.8% in May 2021 over the same month in the previous year.

Another data from Statistics Canada showed wholesale sales in Canada increased by 0.4% month-over-month to C$ 71.5 billion in April 2021, recording a third consecutive monthly increase.

As widely expected, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and reiterated that its asset purchase program will continue at a $120 billion monthly pace until "substantial further progress" has been made on employment and inflation.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a press conferene after the FOMC meeting that the central bank is monitoring economic data and has not made any decisions regarding its asset purchasing program.

Powell, who said inflation could run hotter than the central bank expected, added that the Fed will give advance notice before announcing a decision regarding tapering and that the timing will depend on the progress of economic recovery.

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