Canada's main stock index teetered along the flat line on Tuesday, as chances of a North American Free Trade Agreement this week faded and shares of gold miners dropped with prices of the precious metal hitting their lowest this year.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 12.2 points to conclude Tuesday trading at 16,097.81
The Canadian dollar tumbled 0.39 cents to 77.72 cents U.S.
Mexico's economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Tuesday that he does not expect to meet a deadline this Thursday to reach a new NAFTA that could be presented to the current U.S. Congress.
In the health-care sector, Canopy Growth acquired nine cents to $32.47, while Valeant Pharmaceuticals galloped $1.03, or 3.9%, to $27.66
Shares of Element Fleet Management jumped 59 cents, or 11.5%, to $5.70, after the vehicle fleet manager posted its first-quarter results. The shares were the most heavily traded on the TSX. Elsewhere, Bombardier took on seven cents, or 1.6%, to $4.23
Among consumer staples, Loblaw poked ahead three cents to $66.21, while Saputo strengthened 44 cents, or 1%, to $43.42.
Gold slid for a third day, as a rise in U.S. borrowing costs pushed up the dollar and overshadowed the impact of strife in Gaza. The sector was was weighed down by a drop of 32 cents, or 1.9% for Barrick Gold to $16.93, and a decline of 28 cents, or 1.6%, in Goldcorp, to $17.36.
In materials, Agnico Eagle Mines lost $1.15, or 2%, to $56.24, while Teck Resources surrendered 19 cents to $36.15
On the economic front, the Canadian Real Estate Association announced national home sales fell 2.9% from March to April. Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 13.9% from April 2017.
The TSX Venture Exchange fell 9.28 points, or 1.2%, to 781.03
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups stayed higher on the day, with health-care better by 1.6%, industrials climbing 0.7%, and consumer staples improving 0.3%.
The five laggards were weighed most by gold, down 1.7%, materials, suffering 0.7%, and utilities, off 0.4%.
U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday after Home Depot reported quarterly sales that fell short of Wall Street's expectations and interest rates breached new highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 193 points to 24,706.41, with Home Depot among the biggest contributors of losses. The index also snapped an eight-day winning streak.
The S&P 500 fell 18.68 points to 2,711.45, as health-care and real estate stocks lagged.
The NASDAQ dropped 59.69 points to 7,351.63, as Amazon, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet all pulled back more than 1%.
The decline in U.S. equities came after Home Depot reported first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations, but its sales missed estimates thanks to what the company categorized as a "slow start" to spring sales.
Spring is an especially important season for the home improvement retailer as shoppers traditionally stock up on gardening supplies and renovation materials. Customer transactions, however, fell 1.3% during the quarter. Home Depot fell 1.6% Tuesday.
Stocks also slipped after the Commerce Department reported retail sales increased 0.3% in April, down from a 0.8% gain in March, which was revised higher. The solid read on consumer spending, however, was accompanied by an uptick in interest rates, a move some market watchers blamed for a further decline in equities.
Traders for the first time Monday assigned a 51% chance of a fourth interest rate hike this year by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The strong data Tuesday will only increase the ranks of traders and investors with that belief.
The Fed, tasked with keeping inflation around 2% and maintaining healthy employment levels, considers economic data when deciding whether to increase the benchmark federal funds rate. Despite a narrow Consumer Price Index miss last week, personal consumption expenditures — the Fed's preferred inflation metric — is now near the central bank's target
Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury dipped sharply, raising yields to 3.07% from Monday's 3%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices gained back 21 cents a barrel to $71.17 U.S.
Gold prices dropped $26.30 to $1,291.90 U.S. an ounce.