By Warangkana Chomchuen
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Canadian stocks extended losses on Wednesday, weighed down by lingering concerns over China’s growth and commodity appetite.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index shed 24.96 points to 12,405.74. The resource-heavy Canadian benchmark fell 49 points to 12,430.70 on Tuesday after worries about China’s economy triggered a selloff in the mining, industrial and energy sectors.
Bernanke: Europe needs to step up and do more
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday alongside Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner. Bernanke called on European leaders to do more to avoid greater economic disaster.
“Gold, energy, base metals and agriculture dominate our market, so the downgrading of China really hurt us and continues to hurt us today,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at investment firm MacDougall MacDougall & MacTier Inc.
Among the bigger losers, the S&P/TSX Capped Financials Index XX:TORGC187 -0.39% XX:TORGC189 -0.18% shed 0.3%, with shares of Canada’s Big Five banks in the red. Bank of Nova Scotia shares /zigman2/quotes/206642548/delayed CA:BNS +0.15% /zigman2/quotes/207954556/composite BNS +0.76% lost 0.7%.
The S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index XX:TORGC187 -0.39% bounced back slightly. Tourmaline Oil Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206879878/delayed CA:TOU +0.87% shares increased 7.5% after the company said its fourth-quarter net earnings tripled.
Shares of Legacy Oil + Gas Inc. declined 2.4% after the company reported a decline in forth-quarter net profit.
Gold mining equities benefited from higher April gold futures, which added 0.6% to $1,656.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Romarco Minerals Inc. rose 7.4%. Torex Gold Resources shares /zigman2/quotes/201879412/delayed CA:TXG +1.01% rose 3% after the firm said it has signed a long-term, land lease agreement for the future construction, mining and processing of gold at its gold project in Mexico.
Ivanhoe Mines /zigman2/quotes/207656050/delayed CA:IVN 0.00% [ shares declined 5.2% after the company reported a wider loss in 2011 than the previous year.
The S&P/TSX Capped Industrials Index XX:TORGC193 -0.25% climbed 1%, supported by a 2.7% increase in Bombardier Inc. shares /zigman2/quotes/208994866/delayed CA:BBD.B +15.12% . The Canadian aircraft manufacturer said Wednesday it has signed a definitive agreement with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or COMAC, to collaborate on their CSeries and C919 aircraft programs.
In other trading, shares of Miranda Technologies Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200396575/delayed CA:MT -5.00% jumped 11% after the provider of broadcast technology and equipment said it will hold talks with potential strategic partners in an effort to enhance the company’s value.
Canadian investors also reacted to a disappointing existing home sales data from the U.S. February sales of existing homes fell 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million, compared to an upwardly revised 4.63 million in January, said the National Association of Realtors.
However, Canada’s composite leading index, which gives an overview of Canadian economic health, rose 0.6% in February, after a 0.4% increase in January, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. The largest gains were in the financial sectors as the stock market recovered from an eight-month decline, the agency said.
In currency trading, the Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart /zigman2/quotes/210561978/realtime/sampled USDCAD -0.2305% , with one U.S. dollar buying C$0.9923 from C$0.9911 late Tuesday.