TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market was little changed as investors considered a variety of earnings reports from the retail, energy and mining sectors.
The S&P/TSX composite index gave back 8.59 points to 14,574.52.
The Canadian dollar slipped 0.12 of a cent to 91.2 cents US.
U.S. indexes were tepid ahead of the end of the Federal Reserve's two-day interest rate meeting and data showing economic growth for the first quarter fell far short of expectations. Gross domestic product grew by only 0.1 per cent, against the 1.2 per cent annualized gain that had been expected because of severe winter weather.
The Dow Jones industrials added 3.79 points to 16,539.16, the Nasdaq fell 19.54 points to 4,084 while the S&P 500 index dipped 2.74 points to 1,875.59.
Meanwhile, the Fed was expected to stick to plans to reduce monthly bond purchases by $10 billion this month and provide further insight into the state of the world's biggest economy.
Traders will also look for further indications of when the Fed might start to raise short-term interest rates, which have been near zero since the financial crisis.
There was positive employment news two days before the release of the U.S. government's employment report for April. Payroll firm ADP said that the private sector created 220,000 jobs during the month. Economists generally expected the economy created a total of about 210,000 jobs.
It was a heavy day for Canadian earnings news as Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX: T.ABX, Stock Forum) posted a steep drop in its first-quarter adjusted net earnings to $238 million, or 20 cents per share, from $923 million, or 92 cents per share a year ago due to a decrease in metal prices and lower gold sales volume. Results beat analyst estimates by a penny. Revenues were $2.6 billion compared with $3.4 billion year-over-year. Its shares dipped eight cents to $19.27 amid lower gold prices Wednesday.
Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX: T.CVE, Stock Forum) handed in operating earnings, which excluded some items, of $378 million or 52 cents a share in the first quarter, down three per cent from the same quarter last year. Net earnings were up 44 per cent to $247 million compared with $177 million in the same quarter in 2013. Its shares fell 59 cents to $32.43.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX: T.L, Stock Forum) said adjusted net earnings went up by 3.7 per cent to $139 million or 49 cents a share in the first quarter, beating estimates of 46 cents. Revenues were up 1.2 per cent to $7.29 billion, missing estimates of $7.32 billion. The grocer also boosted its dividend about 2.1 per cent to 24.5 cents a share and its stock was up 61 cents to $46.41.
Quebec-based pharmacy Jean Coutu Group Inc. (TSX: T.PJC.A, Stock Forum) reports higher net earnings of $57.7 million, or 30 cents per share, in its fourth quarter, up from $53.5 million, or 25 cents per share, in the same period last year. Results beat expectations by a penny. Revenues were up slightly to $685.4 million compared with $682.7 million year-over-year but its shares were off 14 cents to $21.51.
In the U.S., Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR, Stock Forum) shares plunged 11.1 per cent in New York. The social networking site's quarterly earnings and revenue surpassed analyst expectations, but investors were disappointed about Twitter's growth in users, which came in at 255 million monthly users, about two million lower than analyst consensus.
TSX losses were led by a 1.2 per cent decline in the gold sector as June bullion fell $8 to US$1,288.30 an ounce.
The energy sector declined 0.58 per cent with June crude in New York down $1.34 to US$99.94 a barrel.
The base metals sector shed 0.4 per cent while July copper moved a penny lower to US$3.06 a pound.