At midday: TSX falls, weighed down by resources, financials

Banks tower above pedestrians in Toronto’s financial district (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and)

Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Tuesday as lower commodity prices weighed on resource shares, while the heavyweight financials group also lost ground.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 27.76 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 15,077.52. Of the index’s 10 main groups, six were in negative territory.

The Canadian dollar slipped 0.23 to 77.34 cents (U.S.).

Gold producers slipped 0.8 per cent as gold futures fell 0.3 per cent to $1,209 an ounce with markets anticipating tighter U.S. monetary policy.

Barrick Gold fell 0.1 per cent and Agnico Eagle Mines was down 0.12 per cent.

Toronto Dominion Bank was among the biggest drags on the index, down 0.2 per cent. The financials group, which accounts for about 30 per cent of the index, slipped 0.12 per cent.

Energy shares recovered from early morning losses to rise 0.7 per cent. Oil prices turned higher after being pressured as several banks cut their forecasts for crude this year and next.

Suncor Energy rose 0.4 per cent, while Canadian Natural Resources advanced 0.5 per cent.

Shares of timber producers were mixed as wildfires in British Columbia disrupted timber and mining operations and forced thousands from their homes. West Fraser Timber rose fell 0.12 per cent after it said it had temporarily suspended operations at three sites.

On the upside, shares of Alimentation Couche Tard rose 1.4 per cent to $60.11 after TD Securities raised its target to $78 from $75. It also signed an agreement to buy Upper Midwest U.S. convenience store player Holiday.

Shares of Jean Coutu Group slipped after it reported higher first-quarter revenue but lower profit compared with last year, mostly because of its generic drug manufacturing division. The Quebec-based pharmacy retailer had $45.5-million or 25 cents per share of net income in the quarter. That’s down from $49-million or 27 cents per share in the comparable period last year.

In the U.S., stocks swung lower on Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s eldest son released an e-mail chain, which referred to a top Russian government prosecutor as offering the Trump campaign damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 19.82 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 21,388.70, the S&P 500 was down 6.84 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 2,420.59 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 5.03points, or 0.08 per cent, at 6,171.36.

“The Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” said the June 3, 2016, e-mail to Donald Trump Jr. from publicist Rob Goldstone.

Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., agreed to meet with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 election campaign after being promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

“I think people are worried that it just means more political uncertainty, and sort of a continuation of the stalemate in Washington, a continuation of the delay in trying to get the Trump agenda passed through Congress,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York. Stocks were higher in early trading ahead of Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s two-day testimony starting on Wednesday as the central bank prepares to unwind the massive hoard of bonds it bought to ease the financial crisis.

“We’ve got Yellen’s testimony tomorrow, there may be a little bit of nervousness ahead of that … the semi-annual monetary policy testimony has often been a big deal for the markets,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“I think there may be some fears that she’s going to come out relatively hawkish.”

Investors will be looking at second-quarter earnings reports on Friday from big U.S. banks including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, dragged down by losses in financials sector.

Snap Inc. shares fell 8 per cent, after lead underwriter Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock and raised concerns about the social media company’s ability to compete against rival Instagram.

Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. soared about 45 per cent after the drug developer said on Monday its experimental drug for a rare but deadly lung disease met the main goal in a mid-stage study.

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