News Column

Toronto stock market to open little changed amid mixed economic data, deal making

June 23, 2014

Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked set to open little changed Monday amid mixed economic news from China and Europe and major deal making in the industrial and mining sectors.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.15 of a cent to 93.16 cents US.

U.S. futures were tepid ahead of the release of home sales figures and a reading on the health of the manufacturing sector in the American Midwest.

The Dow Jones industrial futures slipped one point to 16,587, the Nasdaq futures were down 3.5 points to 3,789.8 while the S&P 500 futures added 0.7 of a point to 1,953.9.

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX:SNC) is acquiring U.K.-based Kentz Corp. Ltd., a global engineering firm that provides services to the oil and gas sector and operates in 36 countries in a deal worth $2.1 billion.

And HudBay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM) is buying Augusta Resource Corporation (TSX:AZC) in a friendly takeover deal worth $555 million. HudBay had revised its offer on Friday and Augusta shareholders will receive now receive 0.315 of a HudBay common share along with 0.17 of a warrant to acquire a common share of HudBay for each Augusta common share.

On the economic front, data showed the Chinese manufacturing sector moving into expansion territory. HSBC's purchasing managers index hit a seven-month high at 50.8, the first time the index has moved above the 50 level since December.

"The data reinforce our view of a sequential growth bottoming in Q1," said a commentary from Barclays Research, which noted that it recently revised up its growth forecast for China in 2014 to 7.4 per cent.

However, other data showed that business activity in the eurozone slowed for a second straight month in June. Data firm Markit said its composite purchasing managers index for the euro zone fell to 52.8 from 53.5 in May. Activity in Germany's private sector slowed slightly but the main source of weakness for the eurozone was once again France.

The Chinese data helped push July copper up two cents to US$3.14 a pound.

Bullion prices backed off slightly after running ahead last week amid tensions between Ukraine and Russia and a growing insurgency in Iraq. August gold was down $3.20 to US$1,313.40 an ounce.

Oil prices declined marginally after rising steadily over the last two weeks as a Sunni uprising gained momentum in Iraq with the August contract off a dime to US$106.73 a barrel.

The TSX ran ahead 0.7 per cent last week in a series of new highs for the Toronto market, finally surpassing its old record close of 15,073 hit in the middle of 2008 just before the global financial crisis. The showing left the Toronto market up more than 10 per cent year to date.

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Source: Canadian Press DataFile

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