Canadian stocks were struggling for direction Tuesday morning as traders turned cautious ahead of tomorrow’s EU meeting and booked profits. European leaders are scheduled to meet Wednesday at Brussels to come with a tangible solution for the euro zone debt crisis.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada has left its key interest rates unchanged today, as widely expected. The bank noted that the outlook for the Canadian economy has weakened since July, with the significantly less favorable external environment affecting Canada through financial, confidence and trade channels.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index moved up 55.98 or 0.46 percent to 12,218.26, after hitting a low of 12,030 in early trading. The main index had gained over 300 points or nearly 3 percent in the past two sessions.
The Diversified Materials Index was paring its recent gains, shedding 0.50 percent. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) and Teck Resources (TCK_B.TO) slipped around 1 percent each.
Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) lost 2 percent after reporting a lower third quarter net income of C$186.8 million or C$1.10 per share compared to C$197.3 million or C$1.17 per share last year. Analysts were expecting earnings per share of C$1.11 for the quarter.
West Fraser Timber (WFT.TO) surrendered just over 2 percent. The integrated wood products company reported third-quarter earnings of C$37 million and a loss per share of C$0.29, compared to C$48 million or C$1.15 per share last year. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations for the quarter was C$3 million or C$0.06 per share, compared to C$47 million or C$1.08 per share. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.51 per share for the quarter.
The price of crude oil was firm at its 3-month high Tuesday morning ahead to Wednesday’s meeting of European leaders. Today after the market hours, the API will release its U.S. crude oil inventories report for the week ended October 21. Analysts expect crude oil inventories to rise by 200,000 barrels, while gasoline stocks are seen dipping 1.25 million barrels last week. Crude for December gained $3.16 to $94.43 a barrel.
In the oil patch, Niko Resources (NKO.TO) gained nearly 2 percent. Junior oil and gas company TriOil Resources (TOL.V) soared 15 percent after said it successfully drilled and completed its first horizontal well in a new light oil reservoir and project area in western Alberta.
Gold stocks were trading firm amid steady bullion prices. The price of gold was extending gains Tuesday morning, with gold for December adding $34.10 to $1,686.40 an ounce.