Toronto stocks flat as gold mines, energy stocks fall

By Shristi Achar A and Maiya Keidan

(Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index posted marginal gains on Wednesday after earlier falling as gold miners and energy companies fell, while domestic data on housing and wholesale trade pointed to slowing economic growth.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 0.08% on Wednesday at 20,722.58. Wall Street’s main indices also slipped earlier in the day as strong economic data fueled concerns about continued rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The broader commodities sector, which includes precious and base metal miners and fertilizer companies, fell 1.3% as gold and metals prices fell against a strong dollar. [MET/L] [GOL/]

The energy sector fell 1.3% as oil prices fell after an industry report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) pointed to a rise in US crude inventories. [O/R]

The financial group fell 0.05%.

Meanwhile, both domestic housing starts and wholesale sales for the month of January declined, showing signs of a slowing economy.

“That January short covering and rebound — it kind of wore and wore out because we expect these economic numbers to weaken,” said Paul Gardner, partner and portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management.

‚ÄúThere’s this headwind that we keep getting better than expected numbers that are never going to be good for stock markets.

“The US will likely have to keep raising interest rates and that’s not good for gold and that’s not good for the underlying commodity sector.”

On the earnings side, Barrick Gold Corp beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly earnings and also announced a new share buyback of up to $1 billion. However, the stock fell 3.3%, reflecting weakness in the sector.

Suncor Energy Inc rose 2% after the energy company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, helped by higher crude oil prices.

Bausch + Lomb Corp rose 9.5% after the eye care company named Brent Saunders, former Allergan chief executive officer, as its CEO and chairman, but ended the day 6.5% higher than Monday.

Cloud services company Converge Technology Solutions plummeted to the bottom of 15.4% on the TSX as multiple brokers cut their price targets on the stock following preliminary full-year 2022 results. However, the stock ended the day down 8.9%.

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Deepa Babington)


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