By the numbers, afternoon report
Aug 22, 2012 / 2:08 pm
The Toronto stock market closed little changed Wednesday after minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve rate announcement encouraged hopes for further economic stimulus.
The TSX and New York indexes had been negative for most of the session as weak corporate performances and retail sales data reminded traders of the fragile state of the economic recovery.
The S&P/TSX composite index added 2.06 points to 12,118.99 and the TSX Venture Exchange climbed 6.34 points to 1,245.66.
The Canadian dollar fell 0.17 of a cent to 100.87 cents US amid a big miss on retail sales for June.
Statistics Canada reported that retail sales fell 0.4 per cent, against expectations of a 0.1 per cent rise.
New York markets also closed well off session lows after the Fed minutes showed many members felt further support for the economy would be needed "fairly soon" unless the economy improved significantly. The minutes didnâ€™t say what steps might be taken. The boldest move would be to launch a new program of bond buying to try to lower long-term interest rates to encourage more borrowing and spending.
The Fed makes its next interest rate announcement Sept. 13. The central bank could also announce new stimulus measures at that time.
But analysts said the minutes should be read with caution since there has been a string of positive economic data since the last Fed meeting Aug. 1, including stronger than expected job creation in July, improving retail sales and consumer confidence, and rising applications for building permits.
The Dow Jones was down 30.82 points to 13,172.76. The Nasdaq gained 6.41 points to 3,073.67 and the S&P 500 index edged up 0.32 of a point to 1,413.49.
Traders also took in a report from the U.S. real estate industry that showed sales of previously- owned homes increased last month, but less than anticipated.
The U.S. National Association of Realtors said home resale volume rose to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in July, a 2.3 per cent increase from the previous month's rate.
That was slightly less than the 4.52 million that economists expected in July
"The housing market in the U.S., which is core to banking and core to the consumer in terms of the wealth side, continues to trickle ahead," said Chris King, portfolio manager at Morgan, Meighen and Associates.
"Not big leaps and big turnarounds (but) it is ticking along in the right direction."
Mining stocks were under pressure as sector giant BHP Billiton reported that its annual profit plunged 34.8 per cent from a year ago to US$15.4 billion as a slowdown in global economic growth led to weaker prices for its key commodities.
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|QHR Technologies Inc||0.56||-0.01|
|Anavex Life Sciences||0.475||-0.025|
|Copper Mountain Mining||1.73||-0.02|
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