Canadian shares tumbled today as a plunge in gold and oil prices nudged down commodity producers. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (TSE:OSPTX) fell 1 percent to 15,036.88 at 12:55 p.m. in Toronto. Seven shares declined for every issue that advanced as nine out of the ten main share groups were in the negative territory.
The energy sector, the main index's second most heavily weighted group, fell 1.6 percent as oil, Canada’s largest export, fell 3%. Suncor Energy (TSE:SU), Canada's largest oil sands producer, sank 2 percent to C$36.23. Canadian Natural Resources Limited (TSE:CNQ), Canada’s second-largest energy producer, declined 1.6 percent to C$37.78.
Cenovus Energy (TSE:CVE) Canada's second-largest independent oil producer, slumped 1.1 percent to $20.73 after announcing the upcoming retirements of four executives, including its chief operating officer. It said three will be replaced by internal candidates, while an external search is underway for a president of upstream oil and gas, a position it expects to fill by September.
MEG Energy (TSE:MEG) dipped 2.4 percent to C$19.60 after saying it has temporarily suspended operations at its Christina Lake oil-sands project in northeastern Alberta and moved non-essential staff from the site due to the potential risk of nearby forest fires.
Brent crude was down $1.90 at $63.62 a barrel at 11:40 a.m., while U.S. crude, also known as WTI, was $1.60 lower at $58.12. Oil was pressured by the possibility that U.S. shale oil producers could increase drilling activity and by a stronger dollar.
The materials sub-index, which includes mining shares, tanked 1.7 percent as gold dipped almost 2 percent. Goldcorp (TSE:G), Canada’s largest gold miner by market value, gave up 2.8 percent to C$21.88. Barrick Gold (TSE:ABX), the second-largest, retreated 3.8 percent to C$14.55.
Spot gold dropped to a two-week low of $1,185.35 an ounce earlier and was down 1.6 percent at $1,187.59. U.S. gold futures for June delivery were down $16.70 at $1,187.30 an ounce. Bullion tumbled as the dollar extended gains following a raft of strong U.S. data.
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, dived 1.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (TSE:RY), which has the heaviest weighting in the index, gave back 1.2 percent to C$79.36.
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSE:TD), the second-largest bank by market value, sank 1.5 percent to C$55.52. TD agreed to acquire retailer Nordstrom’s (NYSE:JWN) existing U.S. Visa and private-label consumer credit-card portfolio, which the companies said currently totals about $2.2 billion in receivables.
CAE (TSE:CAE) skidded 0.4 percent to C$15.26 even as the maker of flight simulators posted a fourth-quarter profit of C$0.24 per share, a penny better than both results in the year-earlier period and the Thomson Reuters mean estimate. Revenue also rose 10 percent from a year earlier.
The junior S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index (CVE:OSPVX) lost 1 percent to 693.14 at 12:18 p.m. in Toronto.
In the U.S. market, shares dipped after a mixed bag of U.S. economic data underscored investor concerns about the recent pace of economic growth. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 1 percent to 2,105 at 11:56 a.m. in New York. The 30-company Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) slipped 1 percent to 18,047, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) lost 1.1 percent to 5,033. Most followed shares included Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, Ctrip, Priceline, LivePerson, First Solar, AutoZone, EMC, GM, Qualcomm, Wal-Mart, and Twitter.