Stocks in Canada's largest centre danced across the breakeven line in early trade on Monday as bank shares fell and energy companies were weighed down by lower oil prices, offsetting gains for materials stocks including acquisition target Dominion Diamond Corp.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index squeaked up 0.46 points to begin the day and the week at 15,490.95
The Canadian dollar lost 0.15 cents to 74.83 cents U.S.
The Washington Cos said on Sunday it had previously made a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of mining company Dominion Diamond Corp. for $13.50 a share.
Dominion shares hiked $3.12, or 23.6%, to $16.33.
CIBC cut the target price on AutoCanada Inc. to $20 from $22. AutoCanada gave back a dollar, or 4.6%, to $20.80.
CIBC raised the target price on BCE Inc. to $60.00 from $59.00. BCE shares acquired 23 cents to $58.53.
Desjardins cut the price target on Stella-Jones to $43.00 from $45.00. Stella-Jones shares collapsed $1.17, or 2.8%, to $40.40.
On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported that wholesale sales rose 3.3% to a record high $59.1 billion in January. This was the largest monthly percentage gain since November 2009, when the figure jumped 3.8%.
The agency added sales were up in four of seven sub-sectors, representing 55% of total wholesale sales.
The TSX Venture Exchange gained 3.17 points to kick off Monday at 813.76
The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers, as gold shone 0.8% brighter, materials strengthened 0.7%, and telecoms boosted 0.5%.
The half-dozen laggards were weighed by energy, down 0.6%, health-care, sliding 0.2%, and financials, off 0.1%.
U.S. equities slipped on Monday as investors turned their eyes to comments from several Federal Reserve officials.
The Dow Jones Industrials gained 9.98 points to 20,924.51, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most losses.
The S&P 500 doffed 2.48 points to 2,375.77, with financials and energy leading decliners.
The NASDAQ squeezed 0.77 points higher to 5,901.77
The U.S. central bank raised interest rates for the second time in three months last week, but the "dot plot" that shows each member's expectations for where rates will be in coming years changed little from the last meeting.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari told the media he voted against a rate hike last week because he wanted to see more inflation in the U.S.
Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is also scheduled to various media outlets and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is scheduled to deliver a speech Monday afternoon.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained slightly, lowering yields to 2.49% from Friday's 2.5%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices sank 67 cents to $48.11 U.S. a barrel
Gold prices gained $1.10 to $1,231.30 U.S. an ounce.