The Toronto stock market enjoyed a slight gain at the open Thursday amid nervousness about Greece and other heavily indebted euro-zone countries.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index picked 31.42 points to begin the day at 11,357.50
The Canadian dollar dipped 0.30 to 98.50 cents U.S.
There was also some high drama at Canadian Pacific Railway's annual meeting Thursday, with chief executive Fred Green stepping down after his defenders lost a proxy battle leading up to day's annual shareholders meeting.
U.S. fund manager Bill Ackman has pushed for Green's removal since last year. Canadian Pacific Chairman John Cleghorn is also leaving the company, along with Green and four other directors who won't stand for re-election — clearing the way for Ackman's slate of nominees to take their seats at the board of directors
In other corporate news, Imperial Oil says it may sell its refinery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia or convert it into a terminal. It noted that the refinery operates in the highly-competitive Atlantic Basin, which is open to significant global competition.
Imperial said in a release that demand for refined products in the basin has declined in recent years and the refiner has not met financial expectations.
Sears Canada said its U.S. parent will dramatically reduce its holdings in the troubled department store chain and may sell all of its stake. About 95% of the common shares of Sears Canada are currently owned by Sears Holdings Corp., which also owns the Sears and Kmart department store chains in the United States.
The announcement came a day after the Canadian retailer announced it had a profitable first quarter, eliminating a year-earlier loss through cost-cutting and downsizing measures.
On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported that wholesale sales boosted 0.4% in March to $48.7 billion. The agency also reported that foreign holdings in Canadian investments went down $2.1 billion in March, led by debt instruments.
On the other side of the equation, Canadian investors acquired the largest amount of foreign securities in nearly five years at $7.8 billion, most of those funds in equities.
The TSX Venture Exchange inched up 0.29 points to 1,218.03, while the Nasdaq Canada battled higher by 0.08 points, to 361.45.
Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were negative to begin the day, weighed mostly by metals and mining, off 1.5%, financials, down 0.8%, and global base metals, down 0.7%.
The five gainers were led by gold, ahead 2.6%, materials, advancing 1.5%, and information technology, up 0.8%.
U.S. stocks slipped into the red at the open Thursday, as investors continued to worry about Greece.
The Dow Jones Industrials opened the day down 9.95 points to 12,588.60.
The S&P 500 dipped 1.24 points to 1,323.56. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index let go of 7.09 to 2,866.95.
Retail giants Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings were the biggest gainers. Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, posted stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales.
Wal-Mart rival Sears also reported a net income after a net loss a year earlier, as its operating loss came in much smaller than expected. The retailer also announced it was looking at a partial spinoff of its Canadian operations.
In addition to Wal-Mart and Sears, other retailers due to report results Thursday include Gap and Aeropostale, both due to report after the closing bell.
Also due after the close is Applied Materials, the manufacturer of chipmaking equipment, whose earnings are forecast to decline.
But the big tech news after the close will come from Facebook, which is expected to price its initial public offering. Trading will begin Friday.
The social networking site upped the target price range for its stock earlier this week to between $34 and $38 U.S. per share. It announced Wednesday that 25% more shares of the company will be sold than previously announced.
The additional shares, disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could fetch an extra $3 billion U.S. -- bringing the total raised through Facebook's offering to as much as $16 billion U.S, making it the most valuable
tech IPO in history.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase fell 3% Thursday, a day after the director of the FBI confirmed his agency had launched an initial investigation into a $2-billion U.S. trading loss suffered by the bank.
Meanwhile, concerns about Greece's future in the euro-zone continued to weigh on investors.
Stocks declined for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, as positive economic data in the U.S. failed to counter increasing pessimism over Greece's fiscal woes.
European leaders voiced support Wednesday for keeping Greece in the euro-zone, but cautioned the debt-ridden country must stick with unpopular austerity measures if Greece is going to continue to receive help. A new vote is set for June 17.
Economically speaking, initial jobless claims were unchanged in the week ended May 12 from the revised figure of 370,000. The number came in weaker than expected.
Foreclosures fell for the third straight month in April, reaching the lowest level since 2007, according to tracking service RealtyTrac.
Later Thursday, the Philadelphia Fed will release a report on regional manufacturing.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained, pushing the yield down to 1.74% from Wednesday's 1.76%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
The price of a barrel of oil fell moved ahead 33 cents to $93.14 U.S.
Gold futures for June delivery rose $17.50 to $1,555.10 U.S. an ounce.