Equities in Canada's largest market fell by noon on Wednesday as crude prices dropped more than 2% on a weaker outlook for demand and a rise in U.S. crude inventories.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained negative 28.9 points to greet noon at 16,219.86
The Canadian dollar faded 0.04 cents to 75.25 cents U.S.
The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Cascades, which jumped 91 cents, or 10.2%, to $9.84 after TD Securities upgraded its to "buy" from "hold".
West Fraser Timber rose $3.29, or 5.7%, among the top gainers, to $61.09.
Oil producer Encana Corp fell 34 cents, or 5%, the most on the TSX, to $6.48, while the second biggest decliner was First Quantum Minerals, down 16 cents, or 1.4%, to $10.93.
The TSX Venture Exchange nicked up 0.82 points to break for lunch to 590.14
Eight of the 12 Toronto subgroups were positive midday, as gold towered 1.9%, materials captured 1.2%, and communications strengthened 0.7% each.
The four laggards were weighed most by health-care, waning 1.9%, energy, skidding 1.4%, and financials, down 0.8%.
Stocks fell for a second day on Wednesday as Wall Street took a pause following a strong rally to kick off June.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average faltered 69.97 points to 25,978.54
The S&P 500 was down 9.2 points at 2,876.52.
The NASDAQ Composite slid 39.96 points to 7,782.61.
Chipmakers contributed to the decline. Lam Research lost 5%. Applied Materials, KLA-Tencor and Teradyne also fell. Semiconductor stocks were pressured after an Evercore ISI analyst said a recovery in the space will likely be pushed back to the second half of 2020.
Bank shares fell along with Treasury yields. Citigroup dropped 0.8% while J.P. Morgan Chase gave back 1%, and Bank of America slid 0.7%.
Still, the major indexes were all up nearly 5% for the month, rebounding from a sharp selloff in May as U.S.-Mexico trade worries were quelled while expectations for looser monetary policy increased.
Market focus remained largely attuned to global trade developments on Wednesday, after President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he was holding up a trade deal with China and had no interest in moving ahead unless Beijing agreed on as many as five "major points." Trump did not specify these trade issues.
Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of one another's goods since the start of 2018, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.
Wall Street also kept on economic data as investors increasingly price in a rate cut from the Federal Reserve. Market expectations for lower rates by July were at 85.3% on Wednesday. Low inflation, coupled with weak economic data, led to the possibility of lower Fed rates.
Consumer prices south of the border rose just 0.1% last month, matching estimates, the U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday. Core inflation, which strips out volatile components like food and energy prices, also rose 0.1%. The muted inflation numbers follow weaker-than-forecast employment and manufacturing data released last week.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained ground Wednesday, lowering yields to 2.12% from Tuesday's 2.15%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices sank $1.53 to $51.74 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices gained $7.90 at $1,339.10 U.S. an ounce.