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Indexes Fall by Noon

Mar 20, 2017 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) --

Stocks in Canada's largest centre dwindled by midday on Monday, as health-care losses and those in the consumer staples weighed on the index.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 39.01 points to greet noon at 15,451.48

The Canadian dollar lost 0.16 cents to 74.83 cents U.S.

In the health-care field, Canopy Growth gave back 14 cents, or 1.3%, to $10.52, while Valeant Pharmaceuticals retreated 31 cents, or 2.1%, to $14.41.

Among consumer staples, Restaurant Brands dipped 31 cents to $72.36, while Metro Inc. dropped eight cents to $40.80.

Materials forged higher, as Dominion Diamond shares jumped 22.6% to $16.19 after Washington Companies said on Sunday it had previously made a proposal to acquire the mining company for $18.03 ($13.50 U.S.) a share.

Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold producer, rose 0.8% to $25.34 as gold prices scaled a two-week peak. Smaller miner Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd added 1.5% to $57.36.

Manulife Financial fell 0.8% to $23.95 and Bank of Montreal declined 0.5% to $100.45.

Canadian Natural Resources slipped 0.4% to $43.49 and Crescent Point Energy declined 1% to $14.17.

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.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 0.9 points to 811.49

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative by noon, as health-care tumbled 0.7%, while consumer staples and utilities each faded 0.5%.

The three gainers were gold, up 0.4%, materials, ahead 0.2%, and industrials, inching up 0.01%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities traded mostly higher on Monday, while investors turned their eyes to comments from several Federal Reserve officials.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 31.42 points to 20,946.04, with Caterpillar and Disney contributing the most gains.

The S&P 500 doffed 0.69 points to 2,377.56

The NASDAQ climbed 6.83 points to 5,907.82, hitting a fresh all-time intraday high.

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 2.48% from Friday's 2.5%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices sank 54 cents to $48.24 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices gained $3.10 to $1,233.30 U.S. an ounce.

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