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Canadian stocks flat amid rising geopolitical concerns

Canadian stocks flat amid rising geopolitical concerns

OTTAWA: The Canadian stock market has been fluctuating between small gains and losses since the open of trade Wednesday, but is little changed overall. The rising tensions between North Korea and the United States has investors concerned this morning. A number of Canadian sectors are trading in the red this morning. However, the geopolitical concerns has provided a boost to gold prices, due to the precious metal’s safe haven appeal. The gains among gold stocks is helping to balance out the losses in other sectors. Markets in the United States are down slightly in early trade Wednesday. Geopolitical concerns are weighing on investor sentiment as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea flare. North Korea seemed unfazed by the President’s bluster, however, as state media carried a statement indicating the communist nation is “carefully examining” a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. Markets in Europe are under pressure Wednesday after an incident inParis. A car hit a group of soldiers in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret in what the suburb’s mayor called a deliberate act. The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 1.58 points or 0.01 percent at 15,257.93. On Tuesday, the index closed down 1.62 points or 0.01 percent, at 15,256.35. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,286.99 and a low of 15,212.60.

The Gold Index is advancing 2.02 percent. Gold prices are climbing Wednesday morning after North Korea threatened to attack the U.S territory of Guam, an island in the Pacific Ocean that houses military bases. B2Gold (BTO.TO) is up 3.62 percent and Kinross Gold (K.TO) is advancing 1.91 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is gaining 1.72 percent and Goldcorp (G.TO) is rising 1.76 percent. IAMGOLD (IMG.TO) is climbing 1.64 percent and Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) is adding 5.02 percent. Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) is also higher by 3.50 percent. The Capped Materials Index is up 0.66 percent. Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is rising 1.13 percent and Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is climbing 4.27 percent. The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.38 percent. Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is advancing 0.33 percent and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is adding 0.24 percent. Air Canada (AC.TO) is rising 0.09 percent and Finning International (FTT.TO) is climbing 7.31 percent. The Energy Index is rising 0.13 percent. Crude oil prices are up slightly Wednesday morning as industry data showed a surprisingly large build in U.S. oil stockpiles. The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a major draw of 7.839 million barrels in United States crude oil inventories. The U.S. EIA reported Wednesday morning that U.S. crude inventories dropped by 6.5 million barrels last week.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is advancing 0.22 percent and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is gaining 0.57 percent. Encana (ECA.TO) is increasing 0.08 percent and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is rising 0.62 percent. The Capped Healthcare Index is lower by 0.94 percent. Concordia International (CXR.TO) is falling 0.83 percent and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) is weakening by 4.10 percent. The Capped Information Technology Index is losing 0.62 percent. Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) is declining 2.79 percent. The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is down 0.38 percent. TELUS (T.TO) is decreasing 0.04 percent and BCE (BCE.TO) is falling 0.34 percent. Rogers Communications (RCI-B.TO) is also lower by 0.72 percent. The heavyweight Financial Index is decreasing 0.20percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is falling 0.11 percent and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is losing 0.60 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is down 0.32 percent and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is declining 0.55 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is lower by 0.25 percent.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) announced Wednesday its intention to suspend operations at its Ravensthorpe nickel operation, in Western Australia, and place it on care and maintenance at the beginning of September 2017 due to the persistently low nickel price. Shares are falling 4.05 percent. Stella-Jones (SJ.TO) sales reached $594.2 million, up 5.5% from $563.1 million last year. The stock is climbing 6.11 percent. On the economic front, Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits in June, up 2.5% from May and the second highest value on record, Statistics Canada announced this morning. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings were mainly responsible for the national increase.