Wednesday, January 09, 2013 04:23 PM EST Markets flat by close Gold stocks bruised The Toronto stock market was little changed Wednesday afternoon as resource stocks largely failed to benefit from a positive earnings report and outlook from aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. The S&P/TSX composite index gained 17.43 points to end Wednesday at 12,522.24 The Canadian dollar faded 0.09 cents to 101.28 cents U.S. The TSX gold sector was the worst performer, as Kinross Gold faded 18 cents to $9.21 and Goldcorp Inc. declined 45 cents to $35.36. The metals and mining sector was down while March copper on the New York Mercantile Exchange gave up early advances to close unchanged at $3.67 U.S. a pound. Turquoise Hill Resources gained 31 cents to $9.18 First Quantum Minerals Ltd. sent its $5.1-billion takeover offer for Inmet Mining Corp. directly to the copper miner's shareholders. The company increased its offer last month to $72 per Inmet share, half in cash, half in stock. First Quantum shares dipped $1.09 to $20.45, while Inmet stock lost five cents to $72.20. HudBay Minerals Inc. fell 65 cents to $10.75 as it said it expects to spend about $163 million this year on the Lalor mining project near Snow Lake, Man. Lalor is expected to cost a total of $704 million to complete. HudBay also plans to spend $901 million in 2013 on the Constancia mine in Peru. The two projects comprise the bulk of HudBay’s 2013 capital investment budget, forecast at $1.24 billion. The energy component was down while oil shed early gains after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a 1.3 million-barrel climb in crude supplies for last week, short of the the 1.5-million-barrel gain that economists expected. But gasoline inventories jumped 7.4 million barrels, much higher than the 2.6 million that had been forecast. Cenovus Energy shed 16 cents to $33.36 and Canadian Natural Resources gave back 24 cents to $29.10. Industrials advanced, with Canadian Pacific Railway ahead 79 cents to $108.16 while WestJet Airlines climbed 32 cents to $20.64. In Canadian earnings news, shares of Shaw Communications Inc. recovered 18 cents to $22.72 as the company increased its dividend as it reported better than expected quarterly results. Shaw earned $235 million, or 50 cents per share, while revenue came in at $1.32 billion. Traders also took in some major corporate dealmaking. Progress Energy awarded a $5-billion contract to TransCanada Corp. that will see the pipeline company design, build, own and operate the proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project. The pipeline will carry gas from northeastern British Columbia to a proposed export facility near Prince Rupert. Progress, recently acquired by Malaysia's state-owned energy company, plans to export liquefied natural gas from the port to markets in energy-hungry Asian markets. TransCanada shares climbed $1.13 to $48.38. On the economic ledger, housing starts declined by a modest 1.7% to an annualized 198,000 in December, just above market expectations for a 195,000 reading. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also says the level of starts represents the lowest level of homebuilding activity since November 2011. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange grew 3.58 points to 1,228.96 The 14 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers. Industrials and health-care were co-leaders of the former group, tacking on 0.8% each, while real-estate gained 0.4%. The seven laggards were weighed mostly by gold and telecoms, each off 0.7%, while the metals and mining group dropped 0.6%. ON WALLSTREET U.S. stocks rose Wednesday, as investors welcomed an upbeat start to corporate earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 61.66 points to 13,390.50 The S&P 500 prospered 3.82 points to 1,460.97. The Nasdaq Composite took on 14 points to 3,105.81 Aluminum producer Alcoa, the first Dow component to report fourth-quarter results, posted earnings after the bell Tuesday that were in line with forecasts but sales were better than expected. Analysts expect earnings for companies in the S&P 500 to grow 3.2% in the fourth quarter versus last year, according to S&P Capital IQ. Banks and companies in the consumer discretionary sector are expected to lead earnings growth. Wells Fargo will report Friday, making it the first major financial institution to release results for the fourth quarter. Morgan Stanley, which is tentatively scheduled to report next week, announced plans Wednesday to cut 1,600 jobs. Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan will also release quarterly results next week. On Wednesday, Boeing was the best performing blue chip. The stock rose 3%, recovering from losses earlier in the week after a series of setbacks involving its new 787 Dreamliner. Apollo Group shares fell after the company reported a sharp drop in enrollment at the University of Phoenix. Facebook shares rose 4% after the social network said it would make an unspecified announcement next week. The stock gained 4%, rising above $30 U.S. a share for the first time since last July. Shares of Herbalife jumped after Third Point, a hedge fund run by Dan Loeb, said it took an 8% stake in the dietary supplement company. The move comes after activist investor Bill Ackman called Herbalife a pyramid scheme and placed a $1-billion U.S. bet the stock would fall to zero. U.S.-listed shares of ArcelorMittal sank after the steelmaker announced plans to raise $3.5 billion U.S. in a stock offering to pay down debt. Shares of wireless broadband provider Clearwire surged on news that Dish Network had offered to buy the company, kicking off a takeover battle with Sprint Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note gained a bit Wednesday, lowering yields to 1.85% from Tuesday’s 1.87%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices slid two cents to $93.13 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices shed $4.70 an ounce to $1,657.20 U.S.