The Toronto Stock Exchange retreated from 33-month highs on Wednesday as investors took the opportunity to lock in profits following the benchmark index’s 4.8% gain over the last four weeks —and 2.7% advance over the previous six days.
The S&P/TSX composite index fell 67.88 points, or 0.48%, to 14,202.65. Eight of the 10 sub-indexes declined, including materials and energy despite rising oil and gas prices, evidence that investors were profiting from recent gains in commodities.
“Every time when you have the market level bump up against a previous high, people get nervous,” Marcus Xu, director of equity investments at Genus Capital Management in Vancouver, told Bloomberg.
Some energy issues lost ground in Toronto on Wednesday following a draft environmental report released in Alberta late Tuesday that suggested oilsands development could be curtailed. The price of crude oil continued to rise, however, with West Texas Intermediate gaining 49¢ to US$108.83 a barrel, and the European benchmark, Brent crude, edging up 4¢ to $122.26.
Gold, meanwhile, rose to a record high of US$1,457.50 an ounce, an increase of $5.90, as investors sought out the precious metal as a hedge against inflation.
The Canadian dollar rose 38 basis points to US104.12¢.
Canada’s junior Venture exchange rose 9.09 points, or 0.39%, to 2,363.43.
In the U.S., a resurgence in tech stocks helped buoy markets, with the Dow Jones industrial average reaching highs not seen since June 2008. It closed at 12,426.75, with a gain of 32.85 points, or 0.27%. The Nasdaq composite rose 8.63 points, or 0.31%, to 2,799.82.
Cenovus Energy was one of the energy producers to see its share price decline following the Alberta government report. Its shares fell 2.03% to $37.64. Suncor Energy slipped 1.93% to $42.76 and Canadian Natural Resources was down 1.46% to $47.25.
Pacific Rubiales, on the other hand, saw its share price rise 1.67% to $28.60 after it announced that its recent purchase of assets in Columbia would boost its production this year.
National Bank of Canada’s share price dropped 2.07% after Bank of Nova Scotia cut its rating.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals, formerly Biovail, dropped 3.34% on Wednesday, to $50.35, after U.S.-based Cephalon Inc. rejected its takeover offer. Valeant’s share price had risen 19% since it made the hostile bid last week. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan shares
fell 2.58% to $57.47 and Agrium Inc. shares slipped 2.36% to $89.42 after a profit forecast from global agribusiness Monsanto
Inc. failed to meet analysts’ expectations.