(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks snapped a six-day gain to end marginally lower on Wednesday, tracking declining global equity markets, led mostly by resource stocks. The losses were capped by some upbeat earnings from railroad operators in the country, even as the Bank of Canada left its overnight rate unchanged.
The Bank of Canada maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 percent, as widely expected, due mainly to the uncertain global and domestic economic conditions. The central bank said the delay in pick-up of exports and business investment, has left the level of economic activity lower than expected.
Elsewhere, European and Asian stocks ended lower tighter money market conditions in China and concerns over the tepid U.S. recovery weighing on sentiment. Expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep stimulus measures going for longer helped to limit the downside to some extent.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Wednesday at 13,243.32, down 4.74 points or 0.04 percent. The index touched an intraday high of 13,308.16 and a low of 13,226.19. Nonetheless, the Index added nearly 350 points or over 3 percent in the past six sessions.
The Capped Industrials Index gained 2.94 percent, mostly on some upbeat performance from Canadian railroad operators, even as Air Canada (AC.B.TO) dropped 1.31 percent and Bombardier Inc. (BBD.A.TO, BBD.B.TO) slipped 0.19 percent.
Railroad operator Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR.TO) gained 4.41 percent after reporting a third quarter profit of C$705 million or C$1.67 per share up from C$664 million or C$1.52 per share in the prior-year quarter. The company also approved a fourth-quarter 2013 cash dividend, a new share repurchase program, and a two-for-one stock split of the company's common shares outstanding.
Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) jumped 10.23 percent after reporting a 45 percent jump in third quarter profit.
The Diversified Metals & Mining Index shed 2.70 percent, with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) down 3.88 percent, Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) down 1.04 percent, and Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) plunging 4.55 percent.
The Capped Materials Index lost 1.39 percent, with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.(POT.TO) gained 1.04 percent.
Gold futures ended lower on Wednesday mostly on profit taking, tracking declining global equity markets, after having recorded some hefty gains yesterday.
The Global Gold Index shed 2.33 percent, with gold futures for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, dropping $8.60 or 0.6 percent to close at $1,334.00 an ounce Wednesday on the Nymex.
Among gold stocks, Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) shed 1.63 percent, while Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) dropped 1.71 percent. Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) slipped 1.56 percent, while Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) dived 3.72 percent. Nonetheless, Eldorado Gold Corp. (ELD.TO) gathered 1.19 percent.
Crude oil plummeted for a second straight session Wednesday, mostly on demand growth concerns after the Energy Information Administration's weekly oil report showed U.S. crude oil stockpiles to have increased much more than expected last week.
The Energy Information Administration in its weekly oil report showed U.S. crude oil inventories to have jumped 5.20 million barrels with gasoline stocks down 1.80 million barrels in the week ended October 18. Analysts expected crude oil inventories to gain 1.7 million barrels and gasoline stocks to ease by 0.1 million barrels last week.
The Energy Index shed 0.96 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, plunged $1.44 or 1.5 percent to close at $96.86 a barrel Wednesday on the Nymex.
Among energy stocks, Suncor Energy Inc.(SU.TO) shed 2.27 percent, while Enbridge Inc.(ENB.TO) slid 0.14 percent. Imperial Oil Limited (IMO.TO) dropped 1.13 percent, while Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) added 0.16 percent.
Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) gained 1.92 percent, after reporting a profit of $188 million or $0.25 per share in the third-quarter. Operating earnings dropped to $150 million or $0.20 per share, but came in ahead of analysts estimate of $0.16 per share for the quarter.
The Financial Index dropped 0.23 percent with Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) down 0.41 percent, while Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) dropped 1.26 percent. The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) slipped 0.66 percent, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) added 0.26 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) gained 0.56 percent, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) inched up 0.07 percent.
The Information Technology Index slipped 0.18 percent, with smartphone maker BlackBerry Limited (BB.TO) shedding 0.47 percent.
In economic news from the U.S., the Labor Department said import prices rose by 0.2 percent in September, matching the revised increase reported for August as well as economist estimates. Export prices rose by 0.3 percent in September after falling by 0.5 percent in the previous month. Economists had expected export prices to edge down by 0.1 percent.
Elsewhere, Bank of England policymakers unanimously decided to keep interest rate at a record low 0.50 percent and quantitative easing unchanged at GBP 375 billion, minutes of the meeting showed. "With unemployment remaining above the 7 percent threshold, the Committee's forward guidance therefore remained in place and no MPC member thought it appropriate to tighten the stance of monetary policy at the current juncture," the minutes showed.
Eurozone's consumer confidence increased further in October to its highest level in 27 months, preliminary data from the European Commission showed Wednesday. The flash consumer confidence indicator for euro area climbed to -14.5 from -14.9 in September. The score was in line with economists' expectations. The index rose for the eleventh month in a row.
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