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July 30, 2012, 4:36 p.m. EDT

Canada stocks slip; Canadian Oil Sands profit down

By Sarah Pringle, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Canadian equities fell slightly on Monday as Canadian Oil Sands reported a drop in second-quarter profit and as investors awaited possible action by central banks this week.

“It’s very quiet here and I think that the market will be that way all summer... Summer doldrums have, I think, set in,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities in Toronto.

A lot of people left the market a couple months ago for one reason or another, which can be seen by low volumes traded throughout June and July, said Kinsey.

The S&P/TSX benchmark index (TORONTO:CA:GSPTSE) slid 8.5 points, or 0.07%, to 11,757.9, as both metals and mining stocks and the information technology sector (TORONTO:XX:TORGC194)  shaved off about 1%.

The market remained flat as investors looked ahead to the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve’s coming policy meetings this week.

“People, if they were going to do anything, today might not be the day. They’re going to wait and see what happens Wednesday. Unless something unforeseen comes out of there I expect it to continue to be quiet,” said Kinsey.

Notable movers among commodity companies included a 4.7% retreat in shares of Eastern Platinum Ltd. (TSE:CA:ELR) , a 3.4% loss in shares of Capstone Mining Corp. (TSE:CA:CS) , and a 4.9% climb in shares of Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (TSE:CA:CFW)

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Commodity futures seesawed, with oil for September delivery (NYM:CLU22) settling 0.4% lower at $89.78 a barrel, and gold for August delivery  ending 0.1% higher at $1,619.70 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In corporate news, shares of Calgary-based Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. slipped 2.4% after the company reported a 71% lower second-quarter profit Friday.

The oil-sands company cited a weaker Canadian dollar as well as higher expenses and lower production volumes due to maintenance at its Coker 8-3 and Vacuum Distillation Unit.

Montreal-based Fibrek Inc. , producer of kraft pulps, said late Friday that due to repairs it was stopping operations at its market pulp mill in Saint-Félicien for about a week, beginning Sunday.


In currency trading, the greenback edged 0.15% lower against its Canadian counterpart (XTUP:USDCAD) , with one U.S. dollar purchasing C$1.0018 vs. C$1.0033.

Looking ahead, markets were awaiting the release of growth numbers for May later this week.

David Madani, economist at Capital Economics, said he estimates that growth domestic product rose by 2% in May, with risks on the downside.

“With much of the developed world laboring to produce anaemic growth, we doubt that further rounds of global monetary policy stimulus will have much greater success than previous rounds,” wrote Madani in a weekly report.

“Accordingly, waning consumer confidence might dampen consumption growth in the second half of the year,” he added.

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