News Column

Banks project TSX higher

February 24, 2014



BlackBerry in spotlight







The Toronto stock market began the last week of February higher as investors looked to a heavy slate of earnings results from most of the big Canadian banks.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 49.11 points to start the day and the week at 14,254.83. A slightly negative session on Friday put an end to a 12-session winning streak for the Toronto market.

National Bank kicks off the earnings rundown after the market close. All the big banks registered record annual profits last year but analysts believe this year will be more challenging amid a fading housing market. National shares docked a penny to $43.49.

The Bank of Montreal follows on Tuesday, Royal Bank reports Wednesday while TD Bank and CIBC report Thursday. Meantime, BMO shares took on 11 cents at the outset to $72.78, while RBC shares took on a dime to $72.66, TD inched up two cents to $49.67, and CIBC shares ballooned 59 cents to $90.69.

Scotiabank, whose shares hiked 30 cents to $63.62, reports March 4.

Elsewhere on the corporate front, BlackBerry Ltd says it will make its BBM text messaging system available to two more types of smartphones, those running the Windows operating system and the Nokia X platform.

The company has already made BlackBerry Messenger available to Apple iPhones and Android devices. BlackBerry has been expanding the reach of BBM as a way to maintain loyal client organizations. The company once known as Research In Motion saw its shares elevated 54 cents, to 5.3%, to $10.71.

Statistics Canada releases growth data for December and the fourth quarter on Friday. Economists looked for the economy to contract by 0.3% in December, largely because of crippling ice storms in Ontario and Quebec towards the end of the month. Growth for the quarter is reckoned to come in at 2.5%

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange was positive 2.47 points to 1,024.13.

All but three of the 14 Toronto subgroups were in the green to start the day, led by consumer staple and energy stocks, each up 0.9%, while gold strengthened 0.7%.

The three laggards were global base metals, down 1.1%, while metals and mining faded 0.8%, and utilities stumbled 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 touched a new record high early Monday as investors remain optimistic about the economy and corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 128.68 points to begin the week at 16,231.98

The S&P 500 index added 14.37 points to 1,850.62. The NASDAQ gained 32.70 points to 4,296.11

In the corporate world, Comcast said Sunday that it will allow Netflix to connect directly to its broadband network, allowing for faster streaming.

Activist investor Carl Icahn stepped up pressure on eBay to spin off PayPal, in an open letter to shareholders.

Shares of HSBC slid after the bank reported earnings that came in below expectations.

Shares of Groupon stabilized after taking a 22% dive Friday. Shareholders pressed the sell button last week after the company warned it was expecting to report a loss in the first quarter.

On the earnings front, Solar City and Live Nation will report after the closing bell.

Investors have been encouraged by corporate profits that beat analysts' expectations. According to FactSet Research, 72% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings for the fourth quarter that topped analysts' expectations.

With little economic or corporate news on the docket Monday, investors may also be looking ahead to testimony later this week from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

Investors welcomed comments from global finance officials, who emphasized stimulating economic growth over austerity.

The G20 -- the world's 19 richest nations and the European Union -- pledged to install policies that will add $2 trillion U.S. to the world economy over the next five years. The group committed to "significantly raise global growth," according to a statement following a weekend meeting in Australia.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries slid slightly, lifting yields to 2.74% from Friday's 2.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices gained 19 cents at $102.40 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained nine dollars to $1,332.60 U.S. an ounce.



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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)


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