Toronto's main stock index couldn't shake off the blues Thursday afternoon, as commodities proved an anchor around the neck of the market.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 26.91 points to close the day at 12,409.25
The Canadian dollar fell 0.22 cents to 102.39 cents U.S.
In corporate developments, the outcome of a shareholder vote on a proposed Chinese takeover of Nexen Inc. is expected on Thursday. It is widely expected that investors will approve the $15.1-billion offer from China National Offshore Oil Company. Nexen shares were up six cents to $24.73.
Goldcorp is considering teaming up with Mexico's Fresnillo to develop a new precious metals venture in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas. Goldcorp shares backpedaled 31 cents to $45.39, while rival Barrick Gold settled 20 cents to $41.45.
Among energy issues, Imperial Oil forged ahead 11 cents to finish at $46.29, while Canadian Natural Resources nipped up two cents to $32.04.
Yellow Media Inc. said the Quebec Supreme Court suspended all its debt-related obligations starting from Sept. 30, as it readies to consider the company's recapitalization plan next month. Yellow stock was flat at 6.5 cents.
Copper futures slid 6.5 cents to $3.75 U.S. a pound. Teck Resources dipped 67 cents, or 2.1% to $30.65.
Speaking of things economic, Statistics Canada reported that there weren't any more of us on the pogey in July than in June. A total of 508,000 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits that month, virtually unchanged from the previous month. Compared with July 2011, the number of beneficiaries fell by 34,900 or 6.4%.
The agency also said that the number of beneficiaries increased in Alberta and Ontario, while it fell in Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
The TSX Venture Exchange weakened 8.63 points to 1,334.89
In all, 10 of the 14 Toronto subgroups were lower on the day. Metals and mining lost 2.4%, industrials demurred 2.1%, and global base metals dipped 1.9%.
The four gainers were led by telecom and energy issues, each ahead 0.4%, while real-estate stocks improved 0.2%.
U.S. stocks logged modest victories Thursday, after being stuck in the red for much of the day disappointing reports in Asia and Europe showed further signs of slowing global growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial average was in the green 18.97 points to close Thursday at 13,596.70
The S&P 500 index fell short of breakeven by 0.77 points, to 1,460.28, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index shaved off 6.66 points to 3,175.96
ConAgra Foods shares shot up more than 7% after the food processing company reported better-than-expected earnings.
Investment bank Jefferies also reported better-than-expected earnings before Thursday's open, but shares of the firm fell nearly 6%.
Several companies, including CarMax, Rite Aid and Bed Bath & Beyond, reported earnings that missed expectations, sending their shares lower.
Shares of railroad operator Norfolk Southern declined after the company lowered its third-quarter guidance late Wednesday. Fellow rail transport firms CSX, Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern also fell on the news.
Online real estate site Trulia raised $102 million U.S. through an initial public offering that priced at $17 U.S. a share -- above its estimated range. Shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday and rose more than 40% from the IPO price.
On the economic slate, data rolled in Thursday on first-time U.S. unemployment benefit claims, which came in at 382,000 for the week that ended Sept. 15. Although the U.S. Labor Department figure is down 3,000 from the previous week, it's still not low enough to ease worries about continued high unemployment.
Elsewhere, firms responding to the September Business Outlook Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported nearly flat business activity this month. The survey's indicators for both general activity and new orders improved from last month but recorded levels near zero.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was flat, keeping yields at Wednesday's close of 1.78%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions
Oil prices regained 16 cents a barrel to $92.14 U.S.
Gold prices inched up 50 cents an ounce to $1,770.70 U.S.