Canadian Market Down In Negative Territory As Weak Retail Sales Data Weigh

After moving along the flat line for nearly a couple of hours Wednesday morning, the Canadian stock market slipped into the red before recovering some lost ground in early afternoon trades.

A sharp fall in retail sales in the country weighed on sentiment. Thanks to a rebound in crude oil prices, energy stocks are finding some support. Materials and healthcare shares are also gaining some ground in positive territory.

Consumer staples, utilities, telecom and consumer discretionary shares are losing ground.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which slipped to a low of 20,154.60, is down 21.98 or 0.11% at 20,178.67 about an hour past noon.

Energy shares PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO) and Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) are gaining 2 to 3%. Arc Resources (ARX.TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO) and Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) are up 1.5 to 1.85%.

Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Lundin Mining Corp (LUN.TO), Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO) and Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Corp (LIF.TO) are among the prominent gainers in the materials space.

Healthcare stocks Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO), Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL.TO), Cronos Group (CRON.TO) and Sienna Senior Living (SIA.TO) are up 1 to 2.3%.

Consumer staples share Empire Company (EMP.A.TO) is down nearly 5%. The company announced that it will pay a quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share, up from 13 cents after posting a profit of $171.9 million or 64 cents per share for the 13-week period ended May 1. The company had posted a profit of $177.8 million or 66 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Data released by Statistics Canada showed retail sales in Canada decreased by 5.7% in April over the previous month. Retail sales had increased by 3.6% in March, well above forecasts for a 2.3% rise.

Retail Sales increased 56.7% in April of 2021 over the same month in the previous year.

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