The Canadian stock market closed lower on Wednesday despite promising reports on employment gains and stronger private sector activity in the US, with heavy losses in energy and gold stocks.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index ended 31.76 points lower, or 0.26 percent, to 12,359.47, while the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index decreased by 6.56 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,325.22.
The Institute for Supply Management reported on Wednesday that non-manufacturing activity in the U.S. was up from 53.7 percent to 55.1 in September. Meanwhile, payroll processor ADP National Employment reported an added 162,000 jobs in the same month, more than what economists had predicted.
Energy stocks weighed down the market on Wednesday, with Canadian Natural Resources suffering a 3.1 percent decline to 30. 20 Canadian dollars a share. Suncor Energy shares lost 0.58 percent to 32.74 Canadian dollars a share, while Cenovus Energy lowered by 2 percent to 34.53 Canadian dollars per share, and Imperial Oil shedding 0.7 percent to 45.38 Canadian dollars a share.
In gold, stocks of gold mining giant Barrick Gold Corp lost 0.8 percent to 40.65 Canadian dollars a share. The company's main competitor Goldcorp made a 0.46 percent slide to close at 44.72 Canadian dollars per share, while shares of major gold miner Kinross Gold lost 0.48 percent to 10.31 Canadian dollars a share.
Bank stocks made some headway throughout the day, with shares of Canada's largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada, going up 0.24 percent to 57.02 Canadian dollars a share, and the Bank of Montreal, one the country's Big Five banks, gaining 3.4 percent to 58.64 Canadian dollars.
Struck by weak economic data from Europe, Asia and the U.S., crude oil for November delivery plummeted on Wednesday, dropping 4. 1 percent to 88.14 U.S. dollars a barrel.
In corporate news, oil and gas producer Enbridge Inc. announced on Wednesday that it plans to establish a large-scale pipeline in the fast-expanding oil fields of northern United States. The 30- billion Canadian dollar project will boost the company's share earnings by 12 percent over the course of five years. On Wednesday, Enbridge stocks rose by 1 percent to 39.39 Canadian dollars per share.
On the economic front, a survey by Canadian real estate company Royal LePage revealed that the price of an average Canadian home rose between 1.8 percent to 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year. The report also said the price of an average two-story home in Canada rose 4 percent to 403,747 Canadian dollars, while detached bungalows were up 4.8 percent to 366,773 Canadian dollars.
In currency, the Canadian dollar continued to fall, down to 1. 0124 U.S. dollars at the close from 1.0162 U.S. dollars on Tuesday.