Toronto's main stock market fell a mite at Monday's open, with investors awaiting more clues from the central banks, especially on the shape of a European Central Bank bond-buying program.
The S&P/TSX Composite index began Monday down 24.75 points to 12,065.14
The Canadian dollar squeezed up 0.005 cents to 101.12 cents U.S.
On a day when hard economic news is scarce, gold-focused royalty company Franco-Nevada Corp is in the news, saying it will provide $1 billion to Inmet Mining Corp for the development of its Cobre Panama copper-gold project in Panama.
Elsewhere, Japan Petroleum Exploration will make a final investment decision on its Hangingstone oil sands expansion project in Canada by the end of this year, delayed from a previous mid-year target, according to Nexen Inc.. A Japex subsidiary owns a 75% stake in the project, while Nexen has the rest.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead dismissed a defamation complaint against investors who raised questions of potential accounting fraud and misstatements of assets, brought by Silvercorp Metals Inc. against New York-based hedge fund Anthion Management, court documents showed on Friday.
The TSX Venture Exchange faded 5.20 points to 1,228.22. The Nasdaq Canada dipped 1.86 points to 349.27.
All but three of the 14 Toronto subgroups were lower at the outset. Metals and mining descended 0.8%, while gold and health-care slid 0.5%.
The three gainers were utilities and telecoms, each up 0.1%, and consumer staples, inching ahead 0.01%.
Stocks traded down slightly Monday on what looks to be another quiet trading day. Still, all three indexes remain near their highest levels in more than four years.
The Dow Jones industrial average demurred 31.85 points to open at 13,243.35.
The S&P 500 index dropped 4.95 points to 1,413.21, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index shed 15.06 points to open the day at 3,061.53.
Lowe's second-quarter earnings missed expectations, falling 10% over the same period a year ago, the home improvement retailer reported Monday. Shares were down over 4% on the news.
Aetna is buying Coventry Health Care for $5.7 billion U.S. in cash and stock. The deal would make Aetna one of the largest providers of government-financed health care. Shares of both companies moved up.
Apple shares set another all-time high Friday on growing expectations for an upcoming wave of new gadgets. Shares of Apple continued to move higher Monday.
Trading volume has been low over the past few days, with many investors on vacation and little news out of Europe.
Even as fewer shares change hands, the U.S. Federal Reserve will once again take centre stage this week when it releases minutes from its July meeting on Tuesday.
While the Fed didn't announce any further stimulus measures at the meeting, investors will look for clues about whether quantitative easing could be coming when chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at a Jackson Hole, Wyo., symposium at the end of the month.
Investors will also keep an eye on news from Europe, as Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras meets with top euro-zone officials throughout the week. Samaras is expected to push for a two-year extension of Greece's bailout program, which would give the government more time to implement difficult reforms.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury crept up, pushing the yield down to 1.81% from Friday's 1.82%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for September delivery fell 26 cents to $95.75 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for December delivery fell $3.30 cents to $1,616.20 U.S. an ounce.