Toronto's resource-heavy main stock index fell in early trade on Tuesday, hurt by soft commodity prices and a drop in shares of Royal Bank of Canada, which U.S. regulators have accused of running a trading scheme "of massive proportion."
The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 82.54 points to begin Tuesday's session at 12,424.52
The Canadian dollar inched up 0.04 cents to 100.98 cents U.S.
The regulator sued Royal Bank for making what it sees as illegal futures trades. RBC has denied the charges. The bank has also decided to buy the 50% of Dexia that it doesn't already own, for $1.1 billion.
Elsewhere, Lake Shore Gold Corp. said an accident at its Timmins West mine in Ontario resulted in the death of one of its employees.
The TSX Venture Exchange slipped 4.54 points to 1,565.25, while the Nasdaq Canada index slid 2.45 points to 418.12
All but three of the 14 Toronto subgroups lost ground in Tuesday's opening hour. Metals and mining gave back 1.6%, while gold and the global base metals group each lost 1.3%.
The three stalwarts proved to be health-care, 1% more hale, telecoms, better by 0.2%, and real-estate, 0.1% more solid.
In New York, stocks opened little changed Tuesday, as investors await economic reports.
The Dow Jones Industrials stumbled 29.67 points in the first hour to 13,234.80, after hitting heights the big board had not seen in more than four years.
The S&P 500 tailed off 2.01 points to 1,417.03, but the Nasdaq squeezed up 0.39 points to 3,120.70
Shares of Apple continue to hit new all-time highs, after an analyst predicted that the stock, which recently clear $600 U.S., could top $1,000 U.S.
Avon Products shares were up Tuesday, following on gains of more than 17% Monday, after the company rejected a $10-billion U.S. purchase offer from beauty company Coty Inc.
Shares of automakers Ford and GM edge higher after competitor Chrysler Group said March was the best month for sales in four years. Additional auto and truck sales figures will be released throughout the day.
Daily deals site Groupon remains in the spotlight following a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal saying that the Securities and Exchange Commission is probing its revision of its first set of results as a publicly traded company. Shares were up 1% in pre-market-trading Tuesday following a loss of more than 17% Monday.
These losses came after the company announced late Friday that it was revising its fourth-quarter income and sales lower, thanks to a higher rate of customers asking for refunds.
Shares of the retailer Urban Outfitters surged after the company gave upbeat guidance in a SEC filing.
On the economic slate, a report on factory orders for the month of February is expected to show that activity picked up by 1.4%, after falling by 1% the previous month.
On Tuesday afternoon, investors will get some insight into the Federal Reserve's policy-making crystal ball, when the central bank releases minutes from its most recent meeting.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained, driving yields down to 2.17% from Monday's 2.19%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for May delivery shed 62 cents to $104.61 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery fell $0.50 to $1,677.00 U.S. an ounce.