News Column

Toronto lists lower by noon

January 21, 2014

Barrick, Agrium in focus The Toronto stock market fell in early trading Tuesday, weighed down by declining prices in bullion and materials. The S&P/TSX composite index stumbled 25.04 points to greet noon at 13,965.25 The Canadian dollar gained 0.26 cents , to 91.10 cents U.S., a day before the Bank of Canada makes its next announcement on interest rates. Gold prices left an impact on the TSX. Shares in Barrick Gold took back 82 cents , or 3.8%, to $20.74 . The materials sector also weakened at the open, falling by 1.98 per cent as shares in Agrium declined 1.5%, or $1.51 , to $102.86 a share. The Calgary based fertilizer producer issued new guidance for its fourth-quarter earnings on Monday, saying that it expects them to be at the "bottom" of previous estimates. It had said earlier it expected earnings to be between 80 cents U.S. to $1.25 U.S. per diluted shares. Agrium says its updated guidance is primarily due to lower than expected selling prices across all wholesale nutrients in the quarter and lower than expected urea ammonium nitrate and domestic potash sales volumes, partly due to problems with rail shipments. In other commodities, March copper took back two cents to $3.33 U.S. a pound On the Canadian economic calendar, manufacturing sales stayed hot, jumping 1.0% in November to $50.5 billion , their sixth advance in seven months. Wholesale sales were unchanged in November at $50.4 billion . ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange erased 4.40 points to 975.37. All but three of the 14 Toronto subgroups were lower by noon, weighed mostly by health-care, down 1.2%, metals and mining, off 0.9%, and materials, sliding 0.7%. The three gainers were utilities, gold and financials, each up 0.2%. ON WALLSTREET Stocks turned mixed early Tuesday as investors digested the latest round of corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 131.90 points midday to 16,326.66, dragged down by Johnson & Johnson, Travelers and Verizon The S&P 500 index fell 5.34 points to 1,833.36. The NASDAQ eked up 0.88 points to 4,198.46. Markets were shuttered Monday in the U.S. for Martin Luther King Day . BlackBerry shares jumped in early trading amid ongoing hopes the smartphone maker's new CEO John Chen will turn the company around. Johnson & Johnson reported quarterly results that topped expectations, but shares fell on the company's cautious outlook for 2014. Earnings at Verizon were also better than expected, while revenue growth was in line. Delta shares gained after the airline's earnings came in above forecast. IBM will report its results after the closing bell. A spate of company earnings will follow later this week from heavyweights such as Microsoft and Netflix Expedia shares fell on reports the online travel company has lost 25% of its "search visibility" on the web. Dow Chemical shares jumped after activist investor Dan Loeb's Third Point Capital announced a "significant" stake in the company. Loeb is calling for a "strategic review" of Dow's operations. Overall, earnings are expected to be up 5.9% in the fourth quarter for the companies in the S&P 500, according to FactSet Research. A few weeks ago, the forecast was for earnings growth of 6.3%, but the estimate was revised lower this week due to disappointing reports, including lower profits in the energy sector. Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries were up, lowering yields to 2.82% from Friday's 2.83%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices remained positive 28 cents to $94.65 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices docked $11.20 to $1,240.70 U.S. an ounce.

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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)

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