Valeant, BlackBerry dominate The Toronto stock market registered a solid advance Monday amid strong manufacturing data from the United States and Europe and major corporate acquisitions. The S&P/TSX composite index tacked on 58.71 points to close Monday at 13,184.41 The Canadian dollar eked up 0.02 cents to 94.43 cents U.S. The Toronto market ended last week down 1.1% but still up about 5.6% year to date. The health sector was up as Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. announced a friendly deal to acquire Solta Medical, Inc., a California -based company that makes medical devices used in cosmetic surgery procedures. Its offer of $2.92 U.S. per share for all of Solta's stock is valued at $250 million U.S., a 40% premium to Friday's closing price on the NASDAQ. Valeant shares ran ahead $4.45 in Toronto , or 3.9%, to $117.52 . The TSX tech sector was ahead and Constellation Software Inc. jumped $10.19 , or 5.2%, to $206.69 as it said it will pay the equivalent of about $350 million to acquire Dutch software company Total Specific Solutions (TSS) BV . Elsewhere in the group, BlackBerry shares rose 13 cents to $6.55 amid two high level departures at the smartphone maker. BlackBerry's executive vice-president in charge of global sales, Rick Costanzo , will be leaving the company by early next year. And Chris Wormald , who was in charge of BlackBerry's mergers and acquisitions strategy, will be gone by the end of this month. BlackBerry posts earnings on Friday. The financials sector rose as Royal Bank climbed 77 cents to $69.00 . The gold sector was ahead while Barrick Gold improved by 29 cents to $18.05 . The energy sector was flat as Imperial Oil rose 41 cents to $45.70 . The base metals sector was also little changed as March copper added two cents to $3.33 U.S. a pound. On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported that foreign investments in Canadian instruments amounted to $4.4 billion in October, focused on instruments from the corporate sector. Canadian holdings of foreign securities edged lower, led by the sale of U.S. equities. What's more, figures released this morning by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) showed national home sales edged 0.1% lower from October to November. CREA also said actual (not seasonally-adjusted) activity was 5.9% above November 2012 levels. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange slid 3.81 points to 890.66 All but three of the 14 TSX subgroups were higher, with information technology and health-care each higher by 1.6%, and global base metals gaining 0.5%. The three laggards were utilities, down 0.4%, while energy and real-estate each inched down 0.1%. ON WALLSTREET With the U.S. Federal Reserve's final meeting of the year wrapping up on Wednesday, investors are waiting to see if the central bank will begin to cut back, or taper, its massive stimulus program. But they didn't seem too worried Monday. The Dow Jones Industrials gained 129.21 points to conclude Monday at 15,884.57 The S&P 500 index added 11.22 points to 1,786.54. The NASDAQ leaped 28.54 points to 4,029.52 The gains were broad-based, with 27 out of 30 Dow members higher, and more than 80% of the S&P 500 booking gains. In corporate news, AIG rose after the insurer reached an agreement to sell its airline leasing business to AerCap Holdings for $5.4 billion U.S. AerCap surged on the news as well. Shares of Sprint were flat despite a report from The Wall Street Journal that it was working on a deal to acquire T-Mobile. Shares of T-Mobile tumbled 4%. Both stocks surged in late trading Friday when the WSJ report first was published. Google agreed to buy Boston Dynamics, a builder of military robots. Social investing site StockTwits was abuzz with chatter about Twitter, as shares declined more than 4% following two downgrades from Wall Street analysts. The slide brought out the bears on Twitter, which has been rallying for the past three weeks. But others defended Twitter, arguing that it's still a good long-term bet. Exxon Mobil and IBM were also popular topics among traders, as each stock climbed about 3% and helped lead the gains on the Dow. The Fed's bond buying has supported stock markets around the world, and more investors believe the Fed will move sooner rather than later as economic data continue to improve. The Fed has been pumping trillions into the economy since December 2008 . It's been injecting $85 billion U.S. per month since September 2012 through its third round of bond purchases, a program known as quantitative easing. Commodity prices advanced as U.S. factory production rose a solid 0.6% November, led by a surge in auto output. Financial information company Markit says its purchasing managers index for the euro-zone beat expectations, rising to a 31-month high of 52.7 from 51.6 in November. At the same time, the services PMI slipped to a four-month low of 51 from 51.2. Other data showed that China's manufacturing sector grew at a slightly slower pace in December, according to a preliminary survey by HSBC. Its flash purchasing managers' index slowed to a three-month low of 50.5. However, the reading was still high enough to indicate that China's economy is continuing to recover since slowing to 7.5% growth in the second quarter. Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries eked lower, thus raising yields to 2.88% from Friday's 2.87%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices improved 87 cents to $97.46 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices gained $5.60 to $1,240.20 U.S. an ounce.
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