(RTTNews.com) - The Canadian stock market got off to a weak start Wednesday, but has since pared its early losses. Healthcare and financial stocks are struggling this morning, while gold and industrial stocks are providing support.
Markets in Europe are trading solidly in negative territory Wednesday. Investor sentiment has taken a hit due to falling oil prices, geopolitical concerns and uncertainty over the formation of an anti-establishment government in Italy.
Markets on Wall Street opened lower Wednesday, but have since pared their early losses. The weak open followed the release of some mixed corporate earnings and comments from President Donald Trump expressing some dissatisfaction with trade talks with China.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is down 0.53 points or 0.00 percent at 16,144.26.
On Tuesday, the index closed down 17.52 points or 0.11 percent, at 16,144.79. The index scaled an intraday high of 16,238.81 and a low of 16,139.77.
The Capped Healthcare Index is lower by 0.92 percent. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) is falling 0.14 percent and Extendicare (EXE.TO) is dipping 0.26 percent. Concordia International (CXR.TO) is dropping 5.13 percent.
The heavyweight Financial Index is decreasing 0.48 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is lower by 0.44 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is losing 0.88 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is falling 0.38 percent and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is weakening by 0.68 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is surrendering 0.52 percent.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is down 1.45 percent despite reporting a 26% increase in second quarter profit.
The Energy Index is falling 0.18 percent. Crude oil prices are slightly lower Wednesday after industry data hinted that U.S. drivers are resisting $3/gal gasoline.
The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies fell by 1.3 million barrels for the week ended May 1. The API data, however, showed an unexpected rise of 980,000 barrels in gasoline stockpiles.
The Energy Information Administration reported this morning that U.S. crude inventories climbed by 5.8 million barrels last week.
Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is down 1.90 percent and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is lower by 0.71 percent. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is falling 0.66 percent and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is declining 0.68 percent. Encana (ECA.TO) is weakening by 0.18 percent and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is losing 2.12 percent. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is surrendering 1.81 percent.
The Gold Index is increasing 1.07 percent. Gold prices have turned slightly lower Wednesday morning, reversing early gains.
IAMGOLD (IMG.TO) is up 1.97 percent and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) is adding 0.14 percent. Kinross Gold (K.TO) is climbing 0.65 percent and B2Gold (BTO.TO) is rising 0.60 percent. Goldcorp (G.TO) is increasing 1.67 percent and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is advancing 1.37 percent. Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) is higher by 7.09 percent.
The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 0.88 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is up 1.40 percent and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) is gaining 0.84 percent. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is advancing 1.54 percent.
The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.70 percent. The government has passed a law boosting ownership limits in airlines and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO). WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) is increasing 0.64 percent and Air Canada (AC.TO) is up 0.17 percent. Canadian National Railway is rising 0.85 percent and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is gaining 1.12 percent.
A vote among union members at Canadian Pacific Railroad may avert a strike Friday.
On the economic front, Eurozone private sector grew at the weakest pace in one-and-a-half years in May with the rate of expansion slowing for the fourth consecutive month, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.
The composite output index dropped to an 18-month low of 54.1 in May from 55.1 in April. The score was forecast to remain unchanged at 55.1.
Germany's private sector activity expanded at the weakest pace in twenty months in May, preliminary survey results from IHS Markit showed Wednesday. The composite output index dropped to 53.1 in May from 54.6 in April.
France's private sector growth slowed to a 16-month low in May, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed Wednesday. The flash composite output index fell more-than-expected to 54.5 in May from 56.9 in April. The score was seen at 56.8.
France's unemployment rate increased in the first quarter, the statistical office Insee said Wednesday. The ILO jobless rate in metropolitan France and the overseas departments rose to 9.2 percent from revised 9 percent in the fourth quarter.
UK inflation continued to slow to reach a 13-month low in April, driven by air fares, adding doubts about the timing of the next rate hike by the Bank of England. Consumer prices climbed 2.4 percent year-on-year in April, slightly slower than the 2.5 percent increase seen in March, the Office for National Statistics reported Wednesday.
This was the lowest since March 2017, when the rate was 2.3 percent. Inflation was expected to remain unchanged at 2.5 percent.
British house price inflation held steady in March after easing in the previous two months, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday. The house price index climbed 4.2 percent year-over-year in March, the same rate of rise as in February, which was revised down from a 4.4 percent increase reported earlier.
A report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday showed a pullback in new home sales in the U.S. in the month of April. The report said new home sales fell by 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 662,000 in April after jumping by 2 percent to a revised rate of 672,000 in March.
Economists had expected new home sales to drop to a rate of 679,000 from the 694,000 originally reported for the previous month.
In commodities, crude oil futures for June delivery are down 0.14 or 0.19 percent at $72. 06 a barrel.
Natural gas for June is up 0.03 or 1.03 percent at $2.938 per million btu.
Gold futures for June are down 3.20 or 0.25 percent at $1,288.80 an ounce.
Silver for July is down 0.18 or 1.09 percent at $16.395 an ounce.
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