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TSX declines amid cautious U.S. durable goods reading, lower gold and metals

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market registered a three-digit loss Wednesday as investors searched for some direction, despite easing tensions in Ukraine and cautious signs of a rebound in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 115.39 points to 14,184.10, dragged down by the metals and mining, materials and gold sectors. The Canadian dollar gained 0.61 of a cent to 90.22 cents US.

The U.S. Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose in February by the largest amount in three months, helped by solid gains in demand for airplanes and cars. The increase amounted to a 2.2 per cent jump last month, compared with a 1.3 per cent drop in January.

But the report wasn't all good news, as the U.S. Commerce Department reported that a key category that reflects business investment fell 1.3 per cent, the second setback in three months.

It's believed the weakness in business investment may have been due to the severe winter conditions in the U.S. last month, which could have caused some firms to put modernization and expansion plans on hold.

U.S. markets were in negative territory as the Dow Jones industrials fell 98.89 points to 16,268.99, the Nasdaq shed 60.69 points to 4,173.58 and the S&P 500 index dipped 13.06 points to 1,852.56.

King Digital Entertainment — the maker of the popular mobile game "Candy Crush Saga" — launched its IPO on Wall Street Wednesday but was not met with as much enthusiasm as anticipated. Prior to the debut, shares had been priced at US$22.50 but opened at US$20.50 and ended the day at US$19.

Some analysts have questioned whether the Irish company would be able to repeat the success of "Candy Crush," which has been far more successful than any of its other games.

With earnings already reported by most major companies, the markets are taking a pause, observed Stephen Lingard, co-lead portfolio manager with Franklin Quotential Portfolios.

"The market is searching for direction," he said. "You have energy that is positive, financials that are positive and a little bit of weight from the gold sector."

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, most sectors declined, with the gold taking on the biggest losses sustained with a drop of 4.58 per cent.

June gold bullion contract fell $8 to US$1,303.40 an ounce, while May copper contract fell four cents to US$2.97 a pound. Oil gained $1.07 to US$100.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In corporate news, Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) says it has signed a deal to sell two water bombers used to fight forest fires to the Newfoundland and Labrador government for US$73.7 million. It also said it will be delaying the first flight of its new Learjet 85 business jet because of an undisclosed systems issue that will require a software update.

Bombardier shares fell nine cents or 2.18 per cents to $4.04.

Shares in Pembina Pipeline Corp. (TSX:PPL), climbed Wednesday after it was announced that the Calgary energy company will be added to the S&P/TSX 60 next month. The list contains 60 large-cap Canadian companies in various industries. Stocks climbed more than three per cent, or $1.30, to close at $41.40.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) chief executive John Chen says he's taking legal action against an unnamed person who allegedly stole confidential details about a future BlackBerry product and leaked them to the public. Its shares dipped 29 cents or 2.78 per cent to $10.15.

Meanwhile, shares in Capstone Mining charged ahead five per cent, or 14 cents, to $2.87 after the Vancouver company announced it has extended the life of its Pinto Valley copper mine in Arizona by eight years to 2026.

The Canadian Press


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