Toronto's main stock index sank early on Thursday, led by mining and energy shares, as markets responded negatively to moves by central banks in China, Europe and Britain to help shore up their slumping economies.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index faded 44.86 points to begin Thursday's at 11,869.01
The Canadian dollar was flat at 98.68 cents U.S.
Among stocks to watch this morning, NBF cut the target price of Calfrac Well Services to $27 from $28.50 on pricing declines in the United States and as Canadian activity slowed in the second-quarter
PI Financial started Copper Mountain Mining with a buy rating and $6 price target, saying the company has a strong partner, strong asset and the right metal
SocGen started Semafo with a buy rating and target price of $7.10, saying encouraging exploration results over the last two years offer the potential for significant expansion at the group's flagship Mana mine in Burkina Faso
The TSX Venture Exchange gave back 14.51 points to 1,227.39. The Nasdaq Canada index regained 1.63 points to 361.28.
In all, 10 of the 14 Toronto subgroups were lower, weighed by a 1.6% loss for gold. Materials suffered 1.1% and health-care dipped 0.8%.
The four gainers were led by consumer staples, ahead 0.6%, industrials, up 0.2%, and information technology, nipping up 0.04%.
U.S. stocks opened lower Thursday as investors reacted to bleak comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. That trumped the news of interest rate cuts in Europe and China and positive employment reports in the United States.
The Dow Jones Industrials eased 87.49 points to begin the first day back from a holiday at 12,856.33. Markets were shuttered Wednesday for Independence Day.
The S&P 500 demurred 10.93 points to 1,363.09. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 16.80 points to 2,959.28.
Today, the European Central Bank lowered its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.75%.
Thursday has been a big day for central bank intervention, with the Bank of England increasing asset purchases by £50 billion ($78.1 billion U.S.) and the People's Bank of China also cut several key interest rates for the second time in less than a month. China's central bank brought its lending rate down by 0.31 percentage point to 6%.
Meanwhile, Spain sold €3 billion ($3.8 billion U.S.) in three- and 10-year bonds Thursday -- the first auction since last week's euro-zone summit. Yields on the 10-year bond moved up to 6.54% but stayed below peak levels hit in June.
Economically speaking, three reports released on Thursday suggested a pickup in the U.S. labour market.
Fewer companies announced plans to lay off workers, and private businesses said they're hiring more people in June. Meanwhile, claims for unemployment benefits fell during the last week of the month.
About 374,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, 14,000 fewer than the week before, the U.S. Labor Department reported.
Companies also announced fewer layoffs in June, according to data collected by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Employers announced 37,551 planned job cuts, the lowest number in 13 months, the report said.
And even more good news, a report released by payroll-processing company ADP beat expectations and showed that private businesses added 176,000 jobs in June, a significant improvement over the month before. The ADP report typically foreshadows the Department's jobs report, which will come out Friday.
What's more, a purchasing managers' survey of the services sector in June was due this morning from the Institute for Supply Management. The index is expected to come in at 53, down from 53.7 in May. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, pushing the yield down to 1.62% from 1.63% late Tuesday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for August delivery doffed 62 cents to $87.04 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery fell $15.09 to $1,607 U.S. an ounce.