Canadian equities squeaked their way into positive territory by the closing bell Tuesday, as several suffering sub-sectors shook off an early morning loss.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 4.03 points to end the day at 11,334.42
The Canadian dollar was up 0.49 to 97.66 cents U.S.
Coal miner SouthGobi Resources tumbled $1.35, or 25%, to $4.05, after the company said its Mongolian flagship Ovoot Tolgoi mine would discontinue operations by week's end. SouthGobi pointed to deteriorating market conditions and customer reluctance for its operating update.
After making headway Monday, several gold stocks lost ground, with NovaGold losing 24 cents, or 4.3%, to $5.33, and Barrick Gold sliding $1.59, or 4% to $37.83.
Barrick announced Tuesday that Ammar Al-Joundi has been appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer of the company. Al-Joundi joined Barrick in 1999, before serving as the CFO of Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited in 2010.
Among other notable movers were Ivanhoe Mines, falling 20 cents, or 2.1%, to $9.47, while Caledonia Mining Corp. unchanged at 7.5 cents.
Oil futures slipped further Tuesday, and oil companies such as Suncor nipped up two cents to $27.73, while rival Imperial Oil gained eight cents to $40.39.
Still in the oil sector, Nexen Inc. said it has taken less time than expected to start producing at a section in its Long Lake project in Alberta, helped by the use of new technologies to ready wells. Its shares vaulted 62 cents, or 3.9%, to $16.37.
The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 6.69 points to 1,168.96. The Nasdaq Canada index fell 0.65 points to 352.44
The 14 Toronto subgroups were evenly split between gainers and losers, real-estate leading the former group, picking up 0.9%, information technology soaring 0.8%, and telecoms growing 0.6%.
The seven laggards were weighed mostly by gold stocks, down 2%, materials, sliding 1%, and the metals and mining group, bruised 0.7%.
Stocks managed to hold onto modest gains Tuesday, after a choppy morning, as investors remained cautious ahead of a key European summit later in the week.
The Dow Jones Industrials were ahead 32.01 points to 12,534.70, with Exxon Mobil and Chevron leading the gains on the blue-chip index.
The S&P 500 picked up 7.26 points to 1,320.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 17.90 points to 2,854.06
A housing report provided some early optimism, showing that U.S. home prices rose in April for the first time in seven months. But a report on consumer confidence signaled weakness, keeping stocks under pressure.
Analysts say that fears over what may, or may not, come out of the two-day summit with European leaders continue to permeate investor sentiment.
There's a lot riding on the summit, but investors are increasingly skeptical that European leaders will emerge with a concrete plan to aid struggling nations.
Investors also kept a close eye on bank stocks, which were largely behind Monday's selloff. Shares of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs all edged up in afternoon trading.
News Corp confirmed Tuesday that it may split into two entities -- one comprising the 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcast network and the Fox News Channel, and the other housing News Corp.'s newspapers and book publishing.
Shares of Coinstar, owner of the Redbox movie rental self-service kiosks, fell after the company said its earnings would be hurt by its $100-million U.S. acquisition of kiosk operator NCR Corp.
For-profit education company Apollo Group, which operates the University of Phoenix, released its third-quarter results after Monday's close. While net revenue declined due to lower enrollment, results still beat analysts' expectations.
Economically speaking, the S&P/Case-Shiller index for April home prices showed improvement, with the annual decline easing to 1.9%. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected prices to have dropped 2.5% from the same time last year.
Elsewhere, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index for June fell further in June to 62, down from 64.4 in May. Economists had expected the figure to edge to 64.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury inched downward, pushing the yield up to 1.63% from 1.61% late Monday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for August delivery reversed course and prospered 18 cents to $79.39 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery settled down $13.50 to $1,574.90 U.S. an ounce.