Stocks Stub Toes on Consumer Stock Weakness

Equities in Toronto reversed course to trade lower on Wednesday, dragged by weakness in energy stocks, while a drop in convenience-store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard on merger reports further dented sentiment.

The TSX subtracted 66.51 points to begin Wednesday’s trading at 17,919.29.

The Canadian dollar moved lower 0.24 cents at 78.46 cents U.S.

European retail giant Carrefour has received a surprise merger approach from Couche-Tard, sending the latter’s shares down $3.24, or 7.8%, to $38.07.

CIBC cut the rating on Capital Power to neutral from outperform. Shares in Capital eked up six cents to $36.36.

CIBC cut the rating on Northland Power to neutral from outperform. Northland shares docked 52 cents, or 1.1%, to $47.80.

CIBC cut the rating on Transalta Renewables to underperform from neutral. Transalta saw its shares fall 53 cents, or 2.3%, to $22.38.

Another big decliner was Methanex Corp, down $2.35, or 4.3%, to $52.55.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Cronos Group, which jumped 52 cents, or 4.2%, to $12.93, and cancer drug developer Trillium Therapeutics, which rose 89 cents, or 5%, to $18.85.

Ontario on Tuesday declared an emergency after latest modeling put Canada’s most populous province on track to have more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by the middle of February.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 5.79 points to 904.40.

All but two of the 12 subgroups were in the red, as consumer staples plunged 2.6%, energy was 1.7% less energetic, and consumer discretionary stocks lost 0.9%.

The two gainers were health-care, vaulting 3%, and real-estate, eking up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks opened flat on Wednesday as the market struggled for direction for a second day amid rising rates, political uncertainty and a still raging pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrials moved up 21.75 points to 31,090.44

The S&P 500 took on 4.04 points to 3,805.23

The NASDAQ acquired 38.73 points to 13,111.17.

Following Tuesday’s muted session, the major averages remain lower for the week. The NASDAQ is the relative underperformer, down roughly 1%.

The moves come as turmoil in Washington continues. Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday night he will not remove President Donald Trump from office. That came before the Democratic-held House approved a resolution urging Pence and the Cabinet to push Trump out of the White House after he incited last week’s riot on the Capitol.

The House of Representatives plans to vote on Wednesday to impeach Trump for a second time.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury gained back lost ground, lowering yields to 1.10% from Tuesday’s 1.14%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices unloaded 14 cents to $53.07 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices, on the other hand, gained $15.30 to $1,859.50 U.S. an ounce.