News Column

TSX holds own at noon

February 18, 2014



Health-care leads pack







The Toronto stock market registered a modest gain Tuesday, adding to last week's solid advance and data that showed severe winter weather had an impact on January economic performance.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 26.48 points to greet noon at 14,081.24. Markets in Toronto were closed Monday for Family Day.

The Canadian dollar regained 0.10 cents to 91.31 cents U.S.

On Tuesday, Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust reported an adjusted profit of $36.8 million, which came in above a forecast of $34.6 million when Choice prepared its initial public offering last summer.

Funds from operations, another key financial measure for real estate companies, were $82.8 million compared with the forecast of $78.9 million. Its units were unchanged at $10.45.

Elsewhere on the corporate front, Resolute Forest Products Inc., the company being targeted by Unifor in pattern bargaining with forestry companies in Eastern Canada, has reached a five-year master collective agreement covering some 1,500 unionized workers in the United States. Its shares edged up 25 cents to $22.07.

The information technology gained, with BlackBerry up 32 cents to $10.19.

The base metals sector advanced while March copper was up two cents to $3.28 U.S. a pound. Teck Resources docked 27 cents to $25.98.

The energy sector rose even as Imperial Oil fell 21 cents to $47.50.

The gold sector declined, as Barrick Gold faded 14 cents to $22.22

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported folks offshore reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by $4.3 billion in December, most of them Canadian dollar-denominated bonds. Canadian investors acquired $3.7 billion of foreign securities, led by U.S. dollar-denominated bonds.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange added 6.70 points to 1,003.05.

Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher, led by health-care, up 1.9%, information technology, up 0.8%, and real-estate, ahead 0.7%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by consumer discretionary stocks, down 0.4%, materials, sinking 0.3%, and gold, 0.2% to the bad.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks were little changed Tuesday, as investors digest the latest corporate earnings and a notable drug company merger.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average subsided 5.26 points to stop for lunch at 16,149.13.

The S&P 500 index moved higher 3.05 points to 1,841.68. The NASDAQ tacked on 28.76 points to 4,272.79. American markets were closed Monday for Presidents Day.

Further gains are only expected if earnings impress Wall Street.

The holiday-shortened week is not off to a good start in that regard though. Coca-Cola dropped more than 3% after the beverage giant reported revenue below analyst estimates. The company's global footprint makes it a good barometer for consumer spending around the world, including emerging markets.

BlackBerry shares spiked over 5% after activist hedge fund manager Dan Loeb disclosed that he acquired a stake in the struggling smartphone maker.

Despite a turnaround effort, BlackBerry shares are down over 33% in the last year. But they have rallied this year on hopes that new CEO John Chen will be able to stop the bleeding.

In other corporate news, Actavis agreed to buy Forest Laboratories for $25 billion U.S. in a deal announced Tuesday. Shares of both pharmaceutical companies surged on the news. Forest jumped 30% while Actavis was up 7%.

The deal is yet another big win for activist investor Carl Icahn, who is a major shareholder in Forest Labs and helped spur changes in the company's management last year.

Shares of Netflix were up Tuesday despite reports that the company's move to strike a deal with Time Warner Cable for a place on the cable company's set-top boxes has slowed. Investors are hoping the success of season two of Netflix's hit series "House of Cards" will continue to lift the stock.

King Media Entertainment, the maker of the popular online puzzle game Candy Crush, filed to for an initial public offering. Shares of Zynga, another developer of mobile and online games, rose about 4%.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries gained ground, lowering yields to 2.70% from Friday's 2.75%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices picked up $1.45 to $101.75 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices increased four dollars to $1,322.60 U.S. an ounce.



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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)


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