Telecoms lead charge
Canada's main stock index was up slightly on Thursday but hovering below recent near-record highs as weak gold prices pulled down mining stocks, while industrials and financials strengthened.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 17.14 points to face midday at 14,991.79
The Canadian dollar eked up 0.07 cents at 93.35 cents U.S.
The index is up about 10\% this year and came within 20 points of a record high on Tuesday but has since fallen back, which has not been a surprise to observers used to the TSX's traditional sluggishness during the summer months.
The industrials group was up, powered by Canadian National Railway, up 0.9\% at $68.64.
Financials climbed, led by Royal Bank, which was up 0.4\% at $75.20.
Among individual movers, Empire Co., the operator of grocery chain Sobeys Inc, eased 0.7\% to $66.64 after reporting a lower quarterly profit and announcing the closure of 50 underperforming stores.
Shaw Communications Inc, was up 0.3\% at $26.43 after it said net income fell nearly 9\% in the third quarter, as it lost more television subscribers despite a boost from business customers.
The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 0.52 points to 1,014.52
Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher by noon, led by telecoms, down 0.4\%, while utilities and industrials each advanced 0.3\%.
The five laggards were weighed mostly by health-care, 0.8\% less hale, gold, dulling by 0.6\%, and materials, weaker by 0.3\%.
Stocks are retreating as traders worry about signs the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise interest rates before long.
The Dow Jones Industrials was negative by 78.12 points to 16,789.39.
The S&P 500 slid 8.36 points to 1,951.17, and the NASDAQ composite remained lower 16.48 points to 4,354.43
Stocks are slumping on concerns that the Fed will soon remove the easy-money punch bowl that's been juicing stock prices, according to key market players.
Trading volumes could take a hit during the middle of the day as investors turn their attention to the World Cup soccer game between the U.S. and Germany, but it's not off to a good start for investors.
Shares of Barclays crumbled 6.5\% after the New York Attorney General unleashed a lawsuit late Wednesday against the British bank alleging a lack of transparency in some of its alternative trading platforms.
The attorney general claims the bank misled investors -- even going as far as lying in marketing materials -- about how much high-frequency trading firms were operating in Barclays "dark pool" trading platform.
Camera maker GoPro has already shown it can withstand drops from space and close encounters with sharks. Now we'll see how the gadget company grapples with life on Wall Street.
GoPro kicked off life as a public company by popping 19\% above its initial public offering price of $24.00 U.S. The consumer electronics company ithen surged even higher with shares trading around $31.00 U.S.
GoPro, which is trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol "GPRO," raised about $425 million U.S. in the offering. The IPO priced at the high end of the expected range of $21 to $24.
It's an ugly day for Bed Bath & Beyond. The home goods retailer tumbled 9\% on after earnings came in lower than expected, and the retailer doesn't forecast it will get much better the rest of the year.
Philip Morris International was also stuck in reverse, losing almost 3\%, after the cigarette maker dimmed its forecast for the year due to currency troubles and economic challenges in Europe.
On the other hand, Alcoa bounced 2\% after unveiling a $2.85-billion U.S. cash-and-stock deal to acquire Firth Rixson, which makes jet-engine parts. The move should help Alcoa diversify amid anemic aluminum prices.
Nabors Industries soared 7\% after inking a $2.86-billion U.S. deal to combine one of its units with C&J Energy Services. Both companies are key players in getting oil and natural gas wells ready to go.
Investors are keeping an eye on consumer discretionary stocks after the government said consumer spending inched up just 0.2\% in May, trailing forecasts for a 0.4\% rise. Spending for April was upgraded from a contraction to a 0.1\% increase. Personal income rose 0.4\%, as expected.
Also, new data showed unemployment claims dipped to 312,000 last week from an upwardly revised 314,000 the week before.
Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries were higher, lowering yields to 2.52\% from Wednesday's 2.56\%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices slipped $1.38 to $105.12 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices retreated $7.10 at $1,315.50 U.S. an ounce.