News Column

Weak data does in TSX

February 3, 2014

PMI figures discourage North American stock markets sold off Monday as a disappointing read on American manufacturing added to worries over whether economic problems cropping up in emerging markets can be contained. The S&P/TSX composite index dumped 208.74 points, or 1.5%, to conclude a gloomy Monday at 13,486.20 The Canadian dollar moved up 0.12 cents to 90.09 cents U.S. Husky Energy has given the green light to a $300-million equipment upgrade at its refinery in Lima, Ohio , so it can process heavy crude from Western Canada . Its shares were 64 cents lower to $32.45 . Financials also weighed, with Bank of Montreal faded 74 cents to $67.32 , and Scotiabank diminished 83 cents to $60.27 The gold sector lost early momentum, as Iamgold dipped a dime to $3.99 , and Barrick Gold lost two cents to $21.44 . In other corporate news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has a deal to buy American firm PreCision Dermatology in a friendly deal. Valeant will pay $475 million cash plus an additional $25 million when a sales-based milestone is passed and its shares gave back $3.50 to $147.63 . In matters economic, euro-zone factories enjoyed their strongest month since mid-2011 in January as new orders flooded in, prompting them to take on new staff for the first time in two years, according to surveys. Moreover, Asian manufacturing outside China showed signs of solid expansion in January as order books swelled, but factories in the region's giant struggled for growth, heightening concerns about an economic slowdown. Closer to home, Statistics Canada reported that its industrial product price index rose 0.7% in December, mainly because of higher prices for energy and petroleum products. The raw materials price index rose 1.9% during the same month, led by crude energy products. Finally, Royal Bank's purchasing managers' index also pointed to a weak start to 2014 for the Canadian manufacturing sector. The January index came in at 51.7, down from 53.5 in December. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange jettisoned 10.55 points to close at 940.77 All 14 Toronto subgroups lost ground on the day, with information technology tumbling 3.1%, while global base metals and the metals and mining groups each slid 2.8%. ON WALLSTREET February is looking an awful lot like January for investors, with the emphasis on awful. The Dow Jones Industrial Average swooned 326.05 points, or 2.1%, to answer the closing bell (mercifully) at 15,372.80 The S&P 500 index skidded 40.70 points to 1,741.89. The NASDAQ plunged 106.72 points to 3,996.96 Investors are unwilling to make big bets after disappointing earnings and volatility in emerging markets sent stocks sharply lower during the first month of the year. The Dow tumbled more than 5% last month -- its worst January since 2009. In corporate news, Herbalife shares rose in early trading after the company said fourth quarter earnings would top forecasts. The company also raised the amount of its planned share repurchase by $500 million U.S. But the stock gave up all its gains after hedge fund manager Bill Ackman's firm Pershing Square released a series of reports detailing why it thinks Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. The activist investor has made these accusations about Herbalife for more than a year, but the nutritional supplements marketer has refuted those claims. Shares of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers declined after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is in talks to buy fellow apparel retailer Eddie Bauer . The potential deal would be the latest twist in the battle between Jos. A. Bank and Men's Wearhouse. Both retailers have offered to buy each other. Shares of RadioShack were higher as investors seemed to appreciate the company's self-deprecatory Super Bowl ad. Radio Shack showed that it was getting rid of its 1980s image and products and unveiling a new store. But even with Monday's move up, the stock is still well below its 52-week high. Automakers reported January sales Monday. The news was mostly bad. Ford. GM and Toyota shares fell after posting sales declines in January that were even larger than what analysts were expecting. There was one bright spot though. Chrysler reported an increase in sales that topped forecasts. Restaurant operator Yum! Brands is set to release quarterly results after the closing bell. Investors were disappointed after the Institute for Supply Management's monthly index showed that manufacturing activity last month expanded at its weakest pace since May. Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries made solid gains, dropping yields to 2.58% from Friday's 2.67%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices fell 86 cents to $96.63 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices hiked $16.40 to $1,256.30 U.S. an ounce.

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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)

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