Canadian stocks were little changed, after sliding to a two-month low yesterday, as declines among phone companies offset gains in gold producers.
Telus Corp. (T) and BCE Inc. retreated more than 1 percent after Canada’s phone regulator yesterday said it will review wholesale roaming rates. Penn West Petroleum Ltd. and Trican Well Service Ltd. fell at least 0.9 percent as crude dropped to a one-week low on falling demand. Centerra Gold Inc. and Alacer Gold Corp. climbed more than 6.7 percent as the metal increased.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) fell 4.89 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,109.50 at 12:38 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark equity gauge has risen 5.4 percent this year, the fourth-worst performer among developed markets ahead of Austria, Hong Kong and Singapore.
“There’s indecision in the market,” said Andrew Pyle, a fund manager at ScotiaMcLeod Inc. in Peterborough, Ontario. He manages C$220 million ($207 million). “The only consensus is the fundamentals in the U.S. have improved. The numbers have pushed the pendulum towards tapering, but not necessarily enough to push it towards tapering in December. Everyone is sitting on the fence.”
The Federal Reserve will probably start reducing its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases at next week’s meeting, according to 34 percent of economists surveyed Dec. 6 by Bloomberg, up from 17 percent in a Nov. 8 poll.
Telus lost 1 percent to C$36.06 and BCE slipped 1.2 percent to C$45.08, headed for a two-month low, as telephone stocks dropped 1 percent as a group for the biggest decline in the S&P/TSX. Five of 10 industries in the benchmark Canadian equity gauge retreated on trading volume 18 percent lower compared with the 30-day average at this time of the day.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said yesterday that large phone providers may be charging smaller firms too much for roaming. Telus and BCE, along with Rogers Communications Inc., are the three largest wireless phone carriers in Canada.
Centerra Gold soared 9.4 percent to C$3.96 and Alacer Gold gained 6.7 percent to C$2.40 as all 24 members of the S&P/TSX Gold Index advanced. Gold futures rose 1 percent in New York.
Penn West Petroleum lost 0.9 percent to C$9.11 and Trican Well Service declined 3.4 percent to C$12.09 to pace declines among energy stocks.
Crude for January delivery slumped 1.1 percent to $96.40 a barrel in New York. Stockpiles of gasoline and distillate fuels jumped the most last week since Jan. 4, the Energy Information Administration reported on Dec. 11.
Bankers Petroleum Ltd. (BNK) jumped 5 percent to C$4.24. The company said production will increase 10 to 15 percent in 2014.
“Bankers’ 2014 budget proposes attractive production growth,” said Gordon Currie, an analyst at Salman Partners Inc. in a note to clients.
BlackBerry Ltd. (BB) rose 2.9 percent to C$6.44 after extending a deadline for its lenders to buy as much as $250 million in convertible debt. The investors, including Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., have until Jan. 13 to decide. BlackBerry reports fiscal third-quarter earnings on Dec. 20.
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