Canadian stocks were little changed as financial shares slipped after a decline in sales of previously owned U.S. homes and gold producers rose with futures for the metal.
Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-biggest lender by assets, fell 1 percent. Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI), Canada’s third-largest producer by market value, gained 0.8 percent as futures advanced on speculation that demand will rebound in India. Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (CFW), which provides hydraulic fracturing in Canada and the U.S., fell 5.4 percent after Baker Hughes Inc. said a shift away from gas rigs may hurt its earnings.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) rose 0.77 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 12,431.47 at 12:43 p.m. in Toronto.
“For the past couple of weeks this market has been predominantly driven off the commodity space, but you’re not seeing a lot of movement on it today,” Gareth Watson, vice president of investment management and research at Richardson GMP Ltd. in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees about C$16 billion ($16 billion). “It’s a reflection of the fact that there really hasn’t been a great deal of news or development overnight from an economic standpoint.”
Canadian financial companies, which make up 30 percent of the country’s stocks by market value, fell after the National Association of Realtors said in a report that purchases of previously owned U.S. homes dropped 0.9 percent to a 4.59 million annual rate from a revised 4.63 million pace in January that was faster than previously estimated.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) decreased 1 percent to C$55.20. The U.S. accounted for 19 percent of the company’s deposits last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Industrial Alliance Insurance & Financial Services Inc. (IAG) dropped 2 percent to C$29.95.
Gold stocks in the index rose on speculation that demand will increase after jewelry shops end a five-day shutdown tomorrow in India. Futures for April delivery gained 0.3 percent to $1,651.90 an ounce at 12:06 p.m. in New York.
Yamana rose 0.8 percent to C$15.60. Centerra Gold Inc. (CG), which mines in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, increased 5.4 percent to C$16.34.
Calfrac declined 5.4 percent to C$29.33 after Baker Hughes, the world’s third-largest oilfield services provider, said it expects operating profit before tax for the first quarter to fall as producers shift drilling from natural gas to crude.
Agrium Inc. (AGU) gained 1 percent to C$88.43 after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it remains bullish on the sector given the positive outlook for corn prices. The company has partnered with Glencore International Plc in the largest publicly traded commodity supplier’s attempt to buy Viterra Inc.
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