News Column

Toronto positive at open

February 21, 2014



Agrium, First Quantum in focus







Equity markets in Toronto improved on a 12-session winning streak on Friday after a reading on U.S. manufacturing, which hit its highest in nearly four years, underpinned hopes for sustained economic strengthening.

The S&P/TSX composite index began Friday up 27.20 points to 14,237.57.

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.22 cents to 89.86 cents U.S.

Fertilizer company Agrium Inc reported a 72% decline in quarterly profit on Thursday as crop nutrient prices fell and nitrogen sales volumes weakened. Agrium hiked $1.74 to $100.39 soon after the opening bell.

Base metal miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd reported lower fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday due to weaker metals prices despite an increase in production and lower production costs. First Quantum shares docked 22 cents to $21.37.

Element Financial said on Thursday it narrowed its fourth-quarter loss as higher finance receivables more than made up for a jump in transaction costs. Element fell 20 cents to $13.10.

A Nebraska judge's ruling on TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline could let U.S. President Barack Obama delay his final decision on the project until after mid-term elections and avoid political damage, analysts say. TransCanada gained 16 cents to $48.99

Veresen said on Thursday that Canada's National Energy Board had approved its request for a license to export natural gas for a U.S. liquefied natural gas project. Veresen stock gained 42 cents to $16.63.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that consumer prices rose 1.5% in the 12 months to January, following a 1.2% increase in December. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index increased 0.2% in January, matching the gain in December.

Retail sales slid 1.8% in December to $40.2 billion, with slumps pretty much across the board

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange was positive 2.37 points to 1,017.30.

Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were ahead soon after the opening bell, with telecoms and global base metals sharing the lead, each gaining 0.5%, while materials picked up 0.4%.

The five laggards were weighed mostly by utilities, down 0.3%, metals and mining, down 0.2%, and health-care, sliding 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks were up slightly Friday as investors analyzed mixed signals about the health of the economy and corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was positive 49.77 points to begin Friday at 16,133.23

The S&P 500 index took on 4.55 points to 1,844.33. The NASDAQ gained 11.01 points to 4,278.56

On the corporate front, investors have been closely studying earnings to gauge whether stocks can continue to climb.

Hewlett-Packard shares rose after the company reported earnings late Thursday that topped analysts' expectations.

Dish Network rallied after the satellite provider's quarterly earnings showed significant increases in profit and revenue.

Groupon shares plunged over 15% after the daily deal site forecast a loss for the current quarter.

Shares of Priceline.com got a boost after reporting better-than-expected earnings.

Facebook was slightly lower after hitting an all-time high Thursday following the social network's deal to buy WhatsApp.

Under Armour shares popped after the company said Friday that it extended its partnership with the U.S. Olympic speedskating team through 2022. The Under Armour suits created a controversy in Sochi after some speedskaters blamed the new uniforms for poor performance.

Business Wire, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, said it would discontinue its practice of pumping a direct news feed to high frequency traders.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries lost some ground, lifting yields to 2.76% from Thursday's 2.75%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices doffed 12 cents at $102.63 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $6.10 to $1,323 U.S. an ounce.



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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)


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