(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks snapped a three-day loss to end higher Wednesday, with investors indulging in some bargain hunting after yesterday's sharp setback that pulled the market down from a near historic high. Investors largely ignored some downbeat economic data from the U.S., including a report showing a bigger than expected drop in first quarter GDP.
However, gains were modest with investors looking for news from Iraq where the situation still remains tense after a Syrian air attack on Sunni militant targets earlier in the day.
In some soft economic news from the U.S., a Commerce Department report on Wednesday showed economic activity in the U.S. decreased much more than previously estimated in the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in May showed an unexpected drop, with orders for transportation equipment declining significantly.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Wednesday at 14,974.65, up 12.28 points or 0.08 percent. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,013.21 and a low of 14,952.37.
On Tuesday, the main index plummeted for a third straight session, driven by a steep drop in energy and materials stocks, with lingering concerns over the developments in Iraq.
Crude oil ended higher amid fears the ongoing violence in Iraq could disrupt oil supplies from the region and on the Obama administration easing a ban on crude exports from the U.S.
The uptick comes despite a weekly oil report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that showed crude stockpiles to have increased more than expected last week.
A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude oil inventories to have risen 1.7 million barrels in the week ended June 20, with analysts anticipating a drop of 2.0 million barrels. The EIA report showed U.S. crude oil inventories at 388.1 million barrels, end last week.
The Energy Index edged up 0.17 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for August delivery, the most actively traded contract, gaining $0.47 or 0.4 percent to close at $106.50 a barrel Wednesday on the Nymex.
Among energy stocks, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ.TO) moved up 0.63 percent, Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) added 0.27 percent, Suncor Energy Inc.(SU.TO) gained 0.27 percent, Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO) slipped 0.47 percent, and Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) gathered 0.35 percent.
The Financial Index dipped 0.24 percent with Toronto-Dominion Bank down 0.11 percent, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) down 0.05 percent, National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) shed 0.31 percent, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) surrendered 0.38 percent.
The Capped Healthcare Index gained 1.16 percent with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX.TO) up 4.27 percent, Catamaran Corporation (CCT.TO) down 0.97 percent, and Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO) up 0.27 percent.
Gold futures ended higher for a sixth straight session on a weak dollar after some soft economic data from the U.S. with gross domestic product declining more than previously estimated in the first quarter.
The Global Gold Index gained 0.53 percent, with gold futures for August delivery moving up $1.30 or 0.1 percent to close at $1,322.60 an ounce Wednesday on the Nymex.
Among gold stocks, B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO) slipped 0.33 percent, Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) gathered 1.37 percent, Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) up 0.41 percent and Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) gained 0.16 percent.
The Capped Materials Index dipped 0.09 percent, with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) slipping 0.59 percent.
The Diversified Metals & Mining Index declined 1.56 percent, with Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) down 0.18 percent, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) down 0.09 percent, and Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) slipping 1.29 percent.
The Information Technology Index edged up 0.08 percent, with BlackBerry Limited (BB.TO) up 1.32 percent.
Among other tech stocks, CGI Group Inc. (GIB.A.TO) slipped 0.33 percent, Constellation Software Inc. (CSU.TO) added 1.03 percent, and Avigilon Corp. (AVO.TO) gathered 0.57 percent.
The Capped Industrials Index gathered 0.31 percent, with Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) edging up 0.26 percent, Canadian National Railway Company (CNR.TO) up 1.13 percent, and Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP.TO) up 0.75 percent. Among airliners, WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) added 1.08 percent, while Air Canada (ACB.B.TO) gained 1.33 percent.
Legacy Oil + Gas Inc. (LEG.TO) added 1.68 percent after announcing that it will acquire Corindhian Exploration Corp. in a deal valued at around $225 million. The privately held Corindhian Exploration has oil assets in North Dakota and Alberta.
In economic news from the U.S., a report from the Commerce Department showed durable goods orders to have unexpectedly declined by a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in May. Excluding transportation items, orders were down by a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in May.
Economists expected a 0.4 percent month-over-month increase in durable goods orders. Excluding transportation, orders were expected to rise 0.3 percent.
Meanwhile, first quarter U.S. GDP decreased by much more than expected 2.9 percent, compared to the previously estimated 1.0 percent drop. Economists had expected the revised data to show a 1.8 percent decrease.
Meanwhile, service sector activity in the U.S. grew at a faster rate, with Markit's reading for the sector coming in at 61.2 in June, up from 58.4 in the previous month.
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