(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks ended lower Tuesday, amid growth concerns following some disappointing consumer confidence data from the U.S. and worries over the state of the Chinese economy. The downside was driven by losses in materials and energy stocks after oil prices dropped significantly.
On the economic front, a Conference Board report on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence to have deteriorated more than expected in February, with consumers concerned over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs, and earnings. Meanwhile, home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas rose more than expected in December, a report from Standard & Poor's showed Tuesday.
The European Commission on Tuesday said eurozone economic recovery is set to gain momentum as domestic demand gradually improves, but unemployment is likely to remain high and inflation subdued.
Meanwhile, there were some strong earnings reports from the financial sector, with two of Canada's biggest banks topped expectations.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Tuesday at 14,188.98, down 38.10 points or 0.27 percent. The index scaled an intraday high of 14,232.94 and a low of 14,179.27.
Gold futures ended higher as investors mulled over some disappointing data out of the U.S. with consumer confidence weakened.
The Global Gold Index dropped 1.13 percent, although gold futures for April delivery, the most actively traded contract, gained $4.70 or 0.4 percent to close at $1,342.70 an ounce Tuesday on the Nymex.
Among gold stocks, Detour Gold Corp. (DGC.TO) dropped 1.92 percent, while Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) lost 1.54 percent. Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) slipped 1.15 percent, while Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) dropped 0.78 percent. Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) surrendered 0.72 percent.
The Capped Materials Index dipped 0.79 percent, with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) up 0.22 percent.
Crude oil ended lower on Tuesday, ahead of the official weekly oil inventory report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration which is forecast to show an increase in supplies, with renewed concerns of lower demand prospects growth in China.
The Energy Index gained 0.52 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for April delivery, the most actively traded contract, shedding $0.99 or 1 percent to close at $101.83 a barrel Tuesday on the Nymex.
Among energy stocks, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) dropped 0.51 percent, while Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO, TLM) gained 0.60 percent. Encana Corp. (ECA.TO, ECA) dropped 1.49 percent, Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO) dropped 1.00 percent, and Suncor Energy Inc.(SU.TO) fell 0.19 percent.
The heavyweight Financial Index dropped 0.02 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) up 0.29 percent while the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) slipped 0.14 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce (CM.TO) gained 0.30 percent, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) dropped 0.08 percent.
Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) edged up 0.08 percent after reporting that lower loan losses helped it earn $1.1 billion in the first quarter. Adjusted profit for the quarter was $1.61 per share. Analysts estimated adjusted earnings of $1.52 per share.
National Bank (NA.TO) gained 1.42 percent after reporting a first-quarter profit that rose 8.6 percent on investment banking gains. Adjusted earnings were C$1.09 a share, beating the C$1.05 average estimate.
The Diversified Metals & Mining Index surrendered 0.88 percent, with Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) dropping 2.04 percent and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) slipping 0.28 percent.
Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) gained 0.39 percent.
The Information Technology Index added 0.21 percent, with BlackBerry Limited (BB.TO) surging 7.91 percent after CEO John Chen told CNBC that a sale of its BBM messaging service was unlikely, but would definitely accept $19 billion -- that was paid for WhatsApp -- for its service if offered.
The Capped Industrials Index dropped 0.66 percent, with Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) adding 0.28 percent.
In corporate news, Malaysia's Petronas has agreed to sell a 25 per cent stake in its Canadian shale gas assets to an Indian company, the Indian Oil Corp.
In economic news, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index dropped to 78.1 in February from a downwardly revised 79.4 in January. Economists expected the index at 80.1 from the 80.7 originally reported for the previous month.
The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in December following a 0.9 percent increase in November. Economists expected an increase of about 0.6 percent. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the Index edged down 0.1 percent in December, matching the decrease seen in the previous month.
The leading index monitoring economic activity in China climbed 1.2 percent in January, a report from the Conference Board revealed Tuesday, coming in at 283.4. That follows the 0.8 percent increase in December and the 1.3 percent gain in November. Nevertheless, the index for consumer expectations declined.
In its winter forecast, the European Commission raised the euro area growth forecast for this year to 1.2 percent from 1.1 percent predicted in November. The projection for 2015 was lifted to 1.8 percent from 1.7 percent. The outlook is for a moderate step-up in economic growth, the commission added.
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