(MENAFN - Baystreet.ca) Canada's main stock index had trouble finding the breakeven mark midday on Wednesday as shares of precious metal miners were boosted by higher gold prices, but such gains were largely canceled out by dips in the energy sector.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index faded 8.43 points to greet noon on Wednesday at 16,493.99
The Canadian dollar gained back 0.19 cents to 76.61 cents U.S.
First Majestic Silver rose 65 cents, or 5.8%, to $11.84, and Turquoise Hill Resources rose 5.5 cents, or 7%, to 84.5 cents.
West Fraser Timber fell two cents, or 1.7%, to $1.42, while SNC-Lavalin Group was down 23 cents to $25.40.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that inflation slowed in June, as the consumer product index took on 2%, following a 2.4% increase in May.
On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the CPI declined 0.1% in June.
What's more, said the agency, manufacturing sales rose 1.6% to $58.9 billion in May, following a 0.4% decline in April.
The agency attributes much of the hike to higher sales in the transportation equipment industry.
The TSX Venture Exchange grew 4.86 points to pause for lunch at 585.03
The 12 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided, as gold shone 2.1% brighter, while information technology soared 1.7%, and materials strengthened 1.2%
The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by energy, down 1.1%, industrials, sliding 0.8%, and communications, doffing 0.4%.
Stocks dipped on Wednesday as the corporate earnings season rolled on with companies like Bank of America and CSX releasing their quarterly numbers.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 30.3 points to move into noon hour ET at 27,305.33
The S&P 500 docked 6.4 points to 2,997.64
The NASDAQ Composite slid 5.56 points to 8,217.24
Bank of America reported better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday, driven by the strength of its retail banking operation. However, the company's CFO warned that lower rates would hit its net interest income growth.
CSX posted Tuesday after the close weaker-than-forecast quarterly results, sending its stock down more than 8%. The company also said it expects full-year revenue to fall between 1% and 2%.
United Airlines, meanwhile, reported earnings and revenue that topped analyst expectations and increased its share buyback program by $3 billion.
Cintas shares jumped more than 8% after the First Aid kit maker's results beat expectations.
More than 7% of S&P 500 companies have reported second-quarter earnings thus far. Of those companies, about 85% have posted profits that beat analyst expectations. The reported earnings growth of those companies is about 3.1%.
Investors came into the earnings season with a bleak outlook on corporate profits. Analysts expected S&P 500 earnings to have fallen by 3% in the second quarter
Netflix, IBM and eBay are all scheduled to report after the close on Wednesday.
Wednesday's moves come after stocks posted slight losses in the previous session after President Donald Trump's skeptical comments on the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.
Trump on Tuesday said the world's two largest economies have a "long way to go" on trade, and suggested that the U.S. could impose sanctions on an additional $325 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury ducked, raising yields to 2.08% from Tuesday's 2.11%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices lost 37 cents at $57.25 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices climbed $13.30 to $1,424.50 U.S. an ounce.