Canada Stocks Little Changed as Gold Offsets Retail Sales Drop

Canadian stocks were little changed at a six-week low after an advance in metal producers offset data showing retail sales unexpectedly fell for the first time in seven months.

OceanaGold Corp. and Eldorado Gold Corp. increased at least 4.3 percent as gold stocks snapped a four-day loss. Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. gained 2.9 percent as the drugmaker joined a consortium conducting Ebola treatment trials.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell less than 0.1 percent to 15,125.67 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. Canadian equities have advanced 11 percent this year, the second-best performer among the world’s developed countries behind Denmark. The index touched a record Sept. 3.

Canadian retail sales fell 0.1 percent to C$42.5 billion ($38.7 billion) in July amid lower receipts at general-merchandise stores. Retail spending remains near last month’s record high after rising from a low of C$33.3 billion in December 2008. Future consumption may be crimped by near-record debt loads and sluggish job growth over the last year.

OceanaGold climbed 4.3 percent to C$2.41 and Eldorado Gold increased 4.8 percent to C$7.84 as raw-materials stocks rallied 1.3 percent as a group, the most in the S&P/TSX. Four of the 10 main industries in the S&P/TSX advanced on trading volume 8.3 percent higher than the 30-day average.

Gold prices added 0.3 percent to settle at $1,222 an ounce in New York. The U.S. and its Arab allies launched a barrage of airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria, while Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals rose 2.9 percent to C$26.77 for a six-month high. A U.S. doctor who contracted Ebola in Western Africa was treated with the company’s experimental therapy for a week while hospitalized in Nebraska, his doctors said. The stock has rallied 18 percent in the past two days.

BlackBerry Ltd. fell 2.9 percent to C$11.70, snapping a two-day advance, after Cormark Securities Inc. analyst Richard Tse lowered his rating for the stock to market perform, the equivalent of a hold, after the stock advanced 53 percent this year through yesterday.

BlackBerry has four buys, 24 holds and 10 sells, with an average 12-month price target of C$9.68, implying a 17 percent decline from current levels, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Merus Labs International Inc. plunged 20 percent to C$1.60, the biggest drop since January 2009, after Chief Executive Officer Elie Farah resigned to pursue other opportunities.

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