News Column

Toronto flat at noon

May 14, 2014



Retailers in focus







The Toronto stock market edged slightly higher Wednesday amid rising commodity prices, a quiet economic calendar and a potential major shift in the Canadian retail landscape.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 17.44 points to greet noon at 14,697.25

The Canadian dollar nicked higher 0.12 cents to 91.82 cents U.S.

U.S. retailer Sears Holdings Corp. is considering selling its 51% interest in Sears Canada as the retailer continues with efforts to turn around its business. Sears Holdings previously sold some store leases in Canada.

Its overall business has been struggling after years of sales declines and it has been closing some unprofitable stores. Its shares were up $1.42 to $44.65 U.S. in New York, while Sears Canada shares ran up 80 cents or 5.1% to $16.56.

In earnings news, overnight service Cargojet reports a first quarter net loss of $1.6 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with a loss of $407,000, or five cents per share, in the same quarter of 2013. Revenues were up 7.4% to $43.7 million and its shares eased 18 cents to $20.86.

July copper gained two cents to $3.16 U.S. a pound and the base metals component climbed.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange was higher 5.63 points to 993.98

All but three of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher, led by gold and materials, each climbing 0.9%, while metals and mining strengthened 0.7%.

The three laggards were information technology, down 0.9%, health-care, sliding 0.5%, and financials, off 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

After taking out fresh records on Tuesday, U.S. stocks started flat to slightly lower on Wednesday morning.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 62.54 points from yesterday's all-time high finish, to 16,652.90

The S&P 500 dipped 4.28 points to 1,893.17, and the NASDAQ composite index sagged 12.74 points to 4,117.43

The retail sector is in focus today, headlined by Sears Holdings

Sears climbed 1% after revealing plans to either unload its 51% stake in Sears Canada or sell the brand north of the border entirely. The announcement comes as Sears struggles to stem the bleeding in its core business.

Macy's logged quarterly earnings that topped estimates by a penny, but the department store's revenue trailed expectations as same-store sales fell 1.6%. All that said, Macy's stock rose 1% in early trading after the company hiked its dividend by 25% and boosted share buyback plans by $1.5 billion.

Wall Street sent Kate Spade soaring 7% into the green, applauding surging sales by the company's ability to swing to a profit amid surging sales for its core brand.

Outside the retail world, tractor company Deere reported profits and sales that topped forecasts, but the company dimmed its outlook amid declining equipment sales.

Sodastream International lost some of its fizz, sliding 2% after the company disclosed a 28% tumble in American sales. Those losses offset growth overseas.

Sony slumped 6% after showing sales rose but projecting a full-year loss of $489 million U.S., its sixth in seven years. The Japanese electronics maker said a big reason behind the jump in sales was favorable foreign exchange rates.

Shares of Fossil, best known for its watches and jewelry, dropped 8% as investors expressed disappointment over the company's declining profits and soaring expenses.

After-the-bell earnings are on tap from Cisco Systems and SeaWorld Entertainment. Retailers Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney will steal the earnings spotlight tomorrow.

Some of the biggest loser stocks on the Nasdaq include Keurig Green Mountain and Tesla Motors, two of the big momentum movers dented by the recent rotation into value stocks.

Inflation hawks may finally have something to crow about. The U.S. Labor Department said producer prices popped 0.6% in April, the biggest jump since September 2012.

Economists had modeled for a softer increase of 0.2%.

Investors will get to see whether or not producers passed those higher prices down to customers on Thursday when the government releases its consumer price index.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries jumped sharply, lowering yields to 2.53% from Tuesday's 2.62%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices added 71 cents to $102.41 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $10.30 to $1,305.10 U.S. an ounce.


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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)


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