Canadian stocks were little changed, after the benchmark index reached a 17-month high yesterday, as financial and energy shares declined while producers of raw materials advanced.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. slid 2 percent after an analyst with Canaccord Genuity reduced his rating on the shares. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. declined 2 percent as Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN) rejected its hostile takeover bid and said it is in talks with third parties for another potential deal. Rubicon Minerals Corp. and Nevsun Resources Ltd. paced gains that sent producers of raw-materials to the biggest gain among 10 groups.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) fell 7.63 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 12,786.62 at 11:12 a.m. in Toronto after losing as much as 0.3 percent earlier. The benchmark gauge has gained 2.9 percent this year.
The fall in energy shares is “indicative of the fact the developed world is in a period of very slow economic growth, which is supportive of a flatter stock market,” said Anish Chopra, managing director and fund manager with TD Asset Management Inc. in Toronto. The firm manages about C$204 billion ($205.2 billion). “It’s a very quiet market and we’re still waiting for macro events over the next few months. Retail data is very modestly ahead of expectations.”
Canadian retail sales rose 0.2 percent to C$39.4 billion ($39.7 billion) in November, Statistics Canada said today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast unchanged sales.
Royal Bank of Canada slipped 0.2 percent to C$61.21 and Bank of Nova Scotia lost 0.3 percent to C$58.15 as energy producers and banks contributed most to losses in the S&P/TSX. Trading volume was 6.4 percent higher than the 30-day average at this time of the day.
Canadian Natural Resources
Canadian Natural Resources declined 2 percent to C$29.84. Philip Skolnick, analyst with Canaccord Genuity, lowered his rating to hold from buy as the company is exposed to risk from the wide differential between the Canadian oil price and benchmark WTI and Brent crude prices.
“This is the most exposed name in the group,” he said in a note to clients today.
First Quantum, which took its cash and stock bid directly to Inmet investors on Jan. 9 after two earlier offers were rebuffed by the board, slipped 2 percent to C$20.90. Inmet today recommended investors reject First Quantum’s C$5.1 billion bid as it undervalues the company, the company said in a statement. Inmet has also approached third parties interested in “considering alternative transactions” for the company and its assets.
First Quantum also lacks the experience developing a mine the size of Inmet’s Cobre Panama copper project in Panama, the company said.
Iamgold lost 2.2 percent to C$10.76 and Centerra lost 1.7 percent to C$9.39. Gold for February delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1,689.60 an ounce in New York, paring earlier gains of as much as 0.4 percent.
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