Canada’s main stock index traded lower on Wednesday, dragged down by weakness in energy stocks, while a drop in convenience-store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard on merger reports further dented sentiment.
The TSX stayed negative 64.91 points to midday at 17,920.89.
The Canadian dollar was lower 0.02 cents at 78.67 cents U.S.
Couche-Tard shares fell $4.39, or 10.6%, the most on the TSX, to $36.92, after the company submitted a non-binding offer letter to buy European retail giant Carrefour at a price of 20 euros per share.
The second biggest decliner was commodity chemicals maker Methanex, which were down $2.86, or 5.2%, to $52.04.
The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Cronos Group, which jumped $1.19, or 9.6%, to $13.60, and Trillium Therapeutics, which rose $1.18, or 6.6%, to $19.14.
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.
The TSX Venture Exchange beat breakeven by 0.68 points to 899.29
All but three of the 12 subgroups were in the red, as consumer staples wallowed 2.8%, energy was down 1.4%, and consumer discretionary stocks lost 0.9%.
The three gainers proved to be health-care, vaulting 5.7%, utilities, up 0.6%, and gold, nosing 0.02%.
Stocks rose marginally 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 sank 16.65 points to pause for lunch at 31,052,04
The S&P 500 stayed above water 3.45 points to 3,804.64
The NASDAQ grew 54.13 points to 13,126.57.
Intel was the best-performing Dow component, rising 7.6%, on news that CEO Bob Swan would step down, effective Feb. 15. However, declines in Boeing, UnitedHealth and Dow Inc offset that sharp pop.
Traders digested the latest inflation-data release, as the U.S. consumer price index rose 0.4% in December. That was in line with a Dow Jones estimate.
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.
COVID cases also continue to increase in the U.S. and abroad. The U.S. is recording at least 248,650 new COVID-19 cases and at least 3,223 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated using Johns Hopkins University data.
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 23 cents to $52.98 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices, on the other hand, gained $13.50 to $1,857.70 U.S. an ounce.