October 3, 2012 / 8:38 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX dips amid mixed economic signals

* TSX ends down 31.76 points, or 0.26 pct, at 12,359.47
    * Energy shares, off 1.1 percent, are biggest drag

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended
modestly lower on Wednesday, as signs of a worsening economic
slowdown in China and Europe weighed on commodity prices and
resource shares, offsetting better-than-expected U.S. data.
    U.S. crude oil futures dropped more than 4 percent to under
$88 a barrel, dragging energy shares down 1.1 percent. 
    Canadian Natural Resources was the most influential
decliner, down 2.9 percent to C$30.28. Suncor Energy 
lost 0.6 percent to C$32.74 and Cenovus Energy fell 2
percent to C$34.53.
    "I am actually pleasantly surprised to see how well the TSX
is holding up," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and
vice-president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver,
noting energy shares were outperforming oil prices on Wednesday.
    "There is a growing perception that there is a value in the
sector. The multiples look attractive and I think it's positive
that investors are trying to look beyond the day-to-day
volatility in energy prices and they're focusing more on the
sector fundamentals."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended down 31.76 points, or 0.26 percent, at
    Four of the 10 sectors drifted lower, including
heavily-weighted materials, following a slightly firmer start. 
    Trading will likely continue be choppy as investors remain
uncertain about when Spain will request a bailout for its public
finances and when the global economic picture will get decidedly
    Data showed growth in the U.S. services sector picked up in
September, defying economists' expectations for a slight
decrease, while last month, the private sector added more jobs
than forecast. The ADP data comes ahead of the closely watched
monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday. 
    Meanwhile, the latest data from surveys of purchasing
managers' activity across the euro zone and China showed the
growth outlook has not improved, despite the best efforts of
central banks to stimulate their economies. 
    On the upside, some of the country's dividend-paying big
banks were among the lead gainers, including Royal Bank of
Canada, up 0.3 percent to C$57.02.
    "The market is trying to find direction and so far there
isn't any particular direction, so I say buy for income," said
Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at Scotia McLeod.
    "When you want to know what to do and you don't know what to
do, get paid to wait, and dividends are the pay that you get to
    In company news, Enbridge Inc rose 1.1 percent to
C$39.39 after its new chief executive kicked off his tenure as
head of the main transporter of Canadian oil exports with new
plans to get growing volumes of light crude to Eastern markets
and prospects for richer earnings. 
    Shares of Air Canada and WestJet Airlines 
jumped 4.4 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. They both
reported record high traffic numbers for September.
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