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Toronto's main market hovered around flat by later in the afternoon Wednesday as hopes for a resolution to eurozone problems faltered with disagreements sprouting between member nations ahead of a key summit in the region.
Tuesday, global equities rose as a report in the Financial Times said that European leaders could create a second bailout fund, which would nearly double the capacity of Europe's financial rescue programs. But today, Bloomberg reported that Germany was rejecting proposals to combine the funds.
There are also competing visions on how to modify the EU treaty for greater fiscal integration, with Germany and France agreeing that several modifications need to take place to enforce stricter budget rules. According to reports, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy is on the other side of the camp, with other member states also taking issue with both views.
European Union leaders will meet Thursday and Friday in Brussels to discuss the issues, as well as other measures to restore market confidence and stabilize the euro.
As of just before 2pm ET, the S&P/TSX Composite was down 2.15 points, or 0.02%, to 12,079.10, while the more junior S&P/TSX Venture Composite fell 3.23 points, or 0.21%, to 1,539.46.
Commodities were mostly down, with the exception of gold futures, rising $13.10, or 0.76% to $1,744.90 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 0.47% to $32.59 an ounce, while copper contract prices dropped 0.77% to $3.55 a pound.
Crude for January delivery fell back 47 cents to $100.81 per barrel, with the energy sector down more than 1% in Toronto as Suncor Energy (TSE:SU) retreated around 2%. The info tech, industrials, and metals and mining sectors also posted between moderate to slight losses.
Financials were up, with gains of nearly 0.6%, as Royal Bank of Canada (TSE:RY) advanced 1.2% and Bank of Nova Scotia (TSE:BNS) rose 1.5%. Bank of Montreal (TSE:BMO), however, lost more than 2% as it said it is hiring the head of Metrolinx, Robert Prichard, as chairman. Prichard will replace David Galloway, who is retiring. The drop in price follows a 3.5% slide Tuesday after reporting disappointing quarterly numbers.
Among materials, Kinross Gold (TSE:K) edged up by around 0.2%, while Barrick Gold (TSE:ABX) and Goldcorp (TSE:G) slid slightly. Copper-focused Teck Resources (TSE:TCK.B) moved higher by just under 0.2%.
In corporate news, Brazil-based gold producer Jaguar Mining (TSE:JAG) said late Tuesday that president and CEO Daniel Titcomb will be leaving his role, effective yesterday, causing shares to drop nearly 8%.
On an interim basis, chairman Gary E. German, together with two other Jaguar directors, Gil Clausen and John Andrews, will form a newly-created Office of the Chairman to fulfill the duties of CEO.
Tournigan Energy (CVE:TVC) announced Wednesday a number of transactions in an effort to expand its Uranium presence in Europe, including the formation of an alliance with French nuclear energy powerhouse Areva SA (EPA:AREVA), and the purchase of seven Uranium properties in Finland and Sweden from Mawson Resources (TSE:MAW). The company rallied over 17% on the news.
Theratechnologies (TSE:TH)(NASDAQ:THER) said Wednesday that it would lay off around 60 percent of its employees and discontinue a clinical program as it concentrates efforts on returning to profitability by 2013.
Quebec-based Laurentian Bank of Canada (TSE:LB) Wednesday posted a 12 percent drop in fourth-quarter profits on an $8.2 million charge related to the acquisition of MRS Companies in September. For the quarter that ended October 31, net income fell to $28.6 million, or $1.06 per share, compared with $32.5 million, or $1.24 per share, a year earlier.
Adjusted earnings were $1.31 per share from $1.24 a year earlier. Analysts expected earnings of $1.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.
Dollarama (TSE:DOL) posted a 33 percent hike in third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, beating Street estimates as the discount retailer opened 51 new locations in the period.
Hudson Resources (CVE:HUD)(OTCQX:HUDRF) Wednesday announced the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on its 100-percent owned Sarfartoq rare earth project in Greenland. The PEA gave the project a 21-year mine life with a net present value of $616 million for the project at a 10 percent pre-tax discount rate, an internal rate of return of 31.2 percent and a 2.7 year payback period.
Crystallex International (TSE:KRY)(OTCBB:CRYXF) received notice from the Toronto Stock Exchange Wednesday that its shares will be delisted effective January 6, 2012.
Great Basin Gold (TSE:GBG)(AMEX:GBG)(JSE:GBG) Wednesday said it has finalized a term facility agreement for a $150 million provided by Credit Suisse AG and Standard Chartered Bank on a co-arranger basis.
Canadian oil company Cenovus Energy (TSE:CVE)(NYSE:CVE) said Wednesday that it will boost spending by 23 percent next year as it plans to invest heavily in its oil assets, with 2012 oil production expected to grow 21 percent.
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSE:RIM) hit a legal setback in the potential use of the BBX name for its next generation of smartphones and will instead use BlackBerry 10.
The smartphone maker is facing an injunction from a federal judge after a request from Albuquerque-based software company Basis International, which says it has trademarked the BBX name.