TSX Ends Lower On Weak Retail Sales Data

The Canadian stock market ended on a weak note on Wednesday after struggling for direction right through the session, as weak retail sales data rendered the mood cautious.

Investors also digested mixed comments from Federal Reserve officials on whether the bank will taper its asset buying program or hike interest rates anytime soon.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down by 36.26 points or 0.18% at 20,164.39. The index touched a low of 20,154.60 and a high of 20,226.26 in the session.

Consumer staples, utilities, real estate and telecom stocks were weak. Healthcare and energy stocks found some support, while information technology, financial, materials and industrials stocks closed mixed.

Empire Company (EMP.A.TO) shares shed about 5.5%. 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.

Healthcare shares Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO) and Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL.TO) gained 3.7% and 3.3%, respectively.

Energy stocks Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO), Arc Resources (ARX.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) and Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO) gained 2 to 2.8%.

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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