TORONTO — Losses in several sectors resulted in a moderate decline on Canada’s main stock index Thursday while the loonie was little changed.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 73.67 points to 15,191.96, with energy, base metals, industrials and financials the biggest losers.One bright spot for the energy sector was Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ), which reported higher second-quarter profits compared with a year ago. Its stock rose $1.31, or 3.39 per cent, to $39.90.Otherwise, crude prices have stalled, weighing on oil and gas stocks, said Todd Mattina, chief economist and strategist at Mackenzie Investments.The September crude oil contract gave back 56 cents to US$49.03 per barrel. It settled above the US$50 mark on Monday, but has since retreated.“Energy is having a tough time cracking the $50 threshold,” said Mattina.In New York, markets were generally flat. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 9.86 points to 22,026.10, its seventh straight record close, while the S&P 500 index slipped 5.41 points to 2,472.16 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 22.31 points to 6,340.34.The quiet trading day came as the Institute for Supply Management delivered a disappointing report on how U.S. services companies did in July. The group said its services index slipped to its lowest reading in 11 months as production, orders and hiring all slowed down.On Friday, stock markets will look for direction from two important reports when both Statistics Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics release the jobs figures for July.“A lot of investors are looking to those reports for signs of where the economic cycle is going and how that might influence the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada in their next interest rate decision,” said Mattina.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 79.50 cents US, down 0.12 of a cent.Elsewhere in commodities, the September natural gas contract lost one cent at US$2.80 per mmBTU, December gold was down $4.00 to US$1,274.40 an ounce, and September copper was unchanged at US$2.88 a pound.— With files from The Associated PressFollow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
Previous Post: News Alert Up to 255 workers laid off at St Catharines Ont