Calgary Herald

- By Kim Covert Postmedia News

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.

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