News Column

TSX rally rolls on

February 20, 2014

BlackBerry, Facebook in news

Equity markets in Toronto ended their 12th straight session higher on Thursday, buoyed by a jump in shares of gold miners and in BlackBerry following Facebook Inc's planned acquisition of mobile-messaging service WhatsApp.

The S&P/TSX composite index shot higher by 90.64 points to close at 14,210.37.

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.16 cents to 90.11 cents U.S.

Financials added strength Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.6% to $72.80, and Toronto Dominion Bank gained 0.7% to $49.84.

The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, jumped, as Barrick Gold Corp shot up 6.3% to $23.29, and Goldcorp gained 4.1% to $30.71.

In other corporate news, TransCanada Corp said it is considering how to proceed with its Keystone XL pipeline, a day after a court voided the Nebraska governor's decision to allow the controversial line to pass through the Midwestern state. The stock gave back 2.1%, to $48.83.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that in December, 514,200 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits -- little changed from November. The number of beneficiaries has been relatively stable since May 2013, following a long-term downward trend that began in the summer of 2009.


The TSX Venture Exchange was positive 9.12 points to 1,015.

All but three of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher on the day, as gold shone 4.5% brighter, materials took on 3%, and consumer staples gained 2%.

The three laggards were utilities, down 0.6%, while energy and real-estate each faded 0.1%.


Investors are taking the latest batch of weak economic reports with a grain of snow-melting salt.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot higher 92.67 points to conclude Thursday at 16,133.23

The S&P 500 index took on 11.03 points to 1,839.78. The NASDAQ gained 29.60 points to 4,267.55

The market was buzzing with chatter about Facebook, which announced plans Wednesday to buy messaging platform WhatsApp for $19 billion U.S. in cash and stock.

Despite the eye-popping price tag, analysts say the deal makes sense.

WhatsApp gives Facebook access to the global text-messaging market, which should help the social network retain its younger users. Analysts at Goldman Sachs said they believed the acquisition "will help drive increased engagement."

The deal also means Facebook doesn't have to worry about a rival social media company scooping up WhatsApp and its millions of dedicated users, according to one expert.

Google reportedly offered to buy WhatsApp for $10 billion U.S., but was rebuffed.

Facebook shares rose more than 3% to trade near $70 U.S. on Thursday.

The WhatsApp deal raised speculation that other companies with text-messaging services might be able to cash in as well. Shares of the troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry, which operates the BBM messaging service, were up nearly 5%.

Wal-Mart reported quarterly results that topped expectations, but shares of the retail chain fell after it warned that "economic factors" would weigh on sales this year.

Tesla shares soared to a new all-time high after the company reported much stronger-than-expected profits and said it will sell 55% more vehicles this year than in 2013.

Shares in BAE Systems were down after the defense contractor warned that U.S. budget cuts would hurt earnings in 2014.

Safeway shares gained after the supermarket chain's management announced they are in talks to sell the company.

Shares of DirecTV were up after the company announced plans to repurchase $3.5 billion U.S. of its own stock.

Actavis shares were up after it said earnings doubled in the fourth quarter. The company announced plans earlier this week to buy Forest Laboratories for $25 billionU.S. Forest shares were also higher.

After the market closed, Hewlett-Packard reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and issued an upbeat outlook. The stock was flat in extended trading.

Groupon and both reported results that topped analysts' expectations. Both shares soared initially after hours but later pulled back.

On the economic front, the U.S. government said the consumer price index, the benchmark for inflation, rose 0.1% in January, which was slightly below what economists had predicted. Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment benefits fell last week.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries lost a little ground, lifting yields to 2.75% from Wednesday's 2.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices were down 11 cents at $103.20 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $3.20 to $1,323.60 U.S. an ounce.

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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)

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