Canadian stocks remained relatively flat for the second straight day on Wednesday as Wall Street ushered in the fourth-quarter earnings report season.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index moved up by 17.43 points, or 0.14 percent, while the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index added 3.73 points, or 0.30 percent, to 1,229.11.
The fourth-quarter corporate earnings report released by the largest U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa late Tuesday showed a better than expected 1.9 percent increase in revenue. The company also projected a 7 percent increase in global demand for aluminum in 2013, up from 6 percent in 2012.
Alcoa is considered a bellwether for the overall well-being of the U.S. economy due to the broad-ranging usage of its products in various U.S. industries.
The metals and mining stocks on the Canadian stock market dropped amid their U.S. competitor's good earning news. First Quantum Minerals shares plummeted by 4.41 percent to 20.59 Canadian dollars a share after announcing Wednesday it is raising its takeover bid of copper miner Inmet Mining Corp. to 5.1-billion Canadian dollars. Inmet on the Toronto Stock Exchange remained unchanged at 72.25 Canadian dollars.
Meanwhile, Teck Resources gained 1.82 percent to 36.86 Canadian dollars. Miner HudBay Minerals Inc. plunged by 4.39 percent to 10. 90 Canadian dollars after posting its projected higher-cost spending on two of its projects.
In energy, Canadian Natural Resources lost 0.55 percent to 29. 18 Canadian dollars. Suncor Energy gained 0.39 percent to 33.27 Canadian dollars.
Elsewhere in the sector, oil and gas producer TransCanada Corp. increased by 2.41 percent to 48.39 Canadian dollars, after being awarded a 5 billion Canadian dollars contract to build and operate the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project in the West Coast province of British Columbia. Progress Energy, another big Canadian energy company, which owns the project, will use the pipeline to export liquefied natural gas to the Asian markets.
Among gold stocks, Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.18 percent to 33. 20 Canadian dollars. The company's main rival Goldcorp lost 1.09 percent to 35.42 Canadian dollars. Gold miner, Alacer Gold Corp., tumbled 7.20 percent to 4.38 Canadian dollars.
In telecom, media and telecom giant Shaw Communications Inc. added 0.75 percent to 22.71 Canadian dollars. BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd. slipped 3.23 percent to 11.40 Canadian dollars.
In Industrials, railway operator Canadian Pacific Railway was up 0.91 percent to 108.35 Canadian dollars. Major domestic airliner WestJet Airlines Ltd. climbed 1.38 percent to 20.60 Canadian dollars.
On the economic front, Canada's housing market continued to decline for the fourth straight month in December, but at a slower rate than previously expected, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Wednesday.
The latest figures showed the annual rate of housing starts in Canada has dropped to 197,976 units in December, when compared with the slightly higher 201,376 units in November, which was above the previously forecasted average of 195,000 among many analysts.
At closing, the Canadian dollar dropped to 1.0126 U.S. dollars at 5 p.m. local time (2200 GMT), compared with 1.0137 U.S. dollars on Tuesday.