Canada's main stock market in Toronto inched down at Thursday closing as financial and energy stocks declined, while Bombardier shares rose after the company won a multi-billion-dollar order for its CSeries passenger jets.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index lost 1.23 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 13,886.43 points. Five of the TSX index's eight main sub-sectors were lower.
Oil prices continued to rally Thursday as the U.S. dollar depreciated against other currencies, making the dollar-priced crude less expensive and more attractive for buyers holding other currencies.
The West Texas Intermediate for June delivery added 70 cents to settle at 46.03 US dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery increased 96 cents to close at 48.14 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Some of the most influential movers on the TSX index included gold stocks. Barrick Gold Corp rose 5 percent to 22.03 Canadian dollars (17.56 U.S. dollars), while Goldcorp was up 5.31 percent at 23.80 Canadian dollars after reporting better-than-expected earnings.
Spot gold moved up as the Bank of Japan held off from expanding monetary stimulus, boosting the Japanese yen versus the U.S. dollar, and after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it was in no rush to tighten monetary policy.
Energy stocks fell back 0.23 percent after early gains as oil prices set new 2016 highs. Suncor Energy advanced 1.66 percent to 36.85 Canadian dollars a share.
Bombardier rose 1.49 percent to 2.04 Canadian dollars a share. The company won a multi-billion-dollar order for its CSeries passenger jets from Delta Air Lines, enhancing the new planes' credibility in international markets and boosting prospects for the loss-making company to return to profitability.
Shares of BCE Inc rose 1.08 percent to 58.83 Canadian dollars apiece after the telecom and media company reported a slightly better-than-expected quarterly profit as it added more wireless customers and earned more for each one.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc rose 0.27 percent to 44.24 Canadian dollars a share. Activist investor William Ackman promised U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday he will urge the company's board to reduce the high prices of four life-saving drugs now at the heart of two congressional probes.
The financials group fell 0.47 percent, including losses for heavyweight bank stocks. Toronto-Dominion Bank was down 0.22 percent to 55.50 Canadian dollars, while Bank of Montreal moved lower 1.21 percent to 81.47 Canadian dollars.
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan fell 3.98 percent to 22.17 Canadian dollars. The world's biggest fertilizer company by capacity cut its full-year profit forecast due to weak demand and lower prices.
On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported that average weekly earnings were 954.00 Canadian dollars in February, up 0.3 percent from the previous month and up 0.4 percent, from 12 months earlier.
South of the border, the U.S. economy inched forward at the weakest pace in two years from January through March, as consumer spending growth slowed, business investment plunged and exports declined further.
The gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, grew by a tiny 0.5 percent in the first quarter, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Thursday. That is down from 1.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter.
The Canadian dollar traded higher at 0.7969 U.S. dollar, compared with Wednesday's closing rate of 0.7925 U.S. dollar.
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