Stocks in Canada's largest centre turned negative shortly after the open on Thursday as strong gains in consumer discretionary stocks failed to offset broader declines in key sectors.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 24.08 points to begin Thursday trading at 15,035.75
The Canadian dollar leaped 0.44 cents to 82.17 cents U.S.
Dollarama reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit for the ninth straight quarter, as customers on average spent more at its stores. Dollarama shares vaulted $7.14, or 5.9%, to $128.90.
Kinder Morgan Canada on Wednesday named six major contractors for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and said construction is on schedule, even as significant hurdles remain for the project. Kinder stock tailed off four cents a share to $17.29.
Hudson's Bay Co activist shareholder Land and Buildings said on Wednesday it believed a highly qualified third-party buyer had “serious interest” in acquiring Galeria Kaufhof, the department store operator's European chain.
Bay shares grew 60 cents, or 4.9%, to $12.79.
Desjardins cut the price target on Alimentation Couche Tard to $72.00 from $74.00. Couche Tard shares went south 26 cents to $60.77.
Credit Suisse raised the price target on Restaurant Brands International to $74 from $60. The parent company of Tim Hortons saw its shares gain $1.28, or 1.7%, to $75.29.
Economically speaking, Statistics Canada reported Canadian municipalities issued $7.9 billion worth of building permits in July, down 3.5% from June and the first decrease since March 2017.
Also, Western University's IVEY School of Business declared its Purchasing Managers Index faded to 56.3 in August from 60 in July, but ahead of a 52.3 reading in August 2016.
The monthly index canvasses purchasing managers of companies as to their buying habits over the previous month, and any reading over 50 constitutes expansion, while under 50 indicates contraction.
The TSX Venture Exchange inched up 0.75 points to open Thursday at 774.74
The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers, with consumer discretionary stocks up 0.9%, gold up 0.6%, and health-care haler by 0.3%.
The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by telecoms and energy, each down 0.6% and financials, off 0.3%.
U.S. stocks traded slightly higher on Thursday a day after President Donald Trump struck a deal with Democrats over relief funding and government funding.
The Dow Jones Industrials slid 28.91 points, to 21,778.73, with Home Depot and Visa contributing the most to the gains.
The S&P 500 lost 2.93 points to 2,462.61, with information technology and telecommunications leading advancers.
The NASDAQ dropped 7.62 points to 6,385.69, with eBay and Microsoft moving higher. Shares of GoPro surged higher after the company said that revenue and gross margin for the third quarter are expected to be at the high end of their previously announced ranges.
Stocks rose slightly on Wednesday after Trump signaled his approval for a Democratic plan to package hurricane relief money for Hurricane Harvey to a three-month extension of both government funding and the debt ceiling.
On the data front, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday that non-farm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, rose at a 1.5% annualized rate. Productivity was previously reported to have increased at a 0.9% pace in the April-June period. It grew at a 0.1% rate in the first quarter.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note were up slightly, lowering yields to 2.06% from Wednesday's 2.07%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices let go of 28 cents to $48.88.
Gold prices hiked $10.00 to $1,349 U.S. an ounce.