News Column

TSX stronger as Ukraine calmer

August 14, 2014

Wal-Mart in focus

Canada's main stock index made headway on Thursday as comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin helped ease concerns about a further escalation of the crisis in Ukraine and drove gains in most major sectors.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 28.45 points to close Thursday at 15,291.18

The Canadian dollar added 0.09 cents to 91.72 cents U.S.

Putin said Russians need to mobilize for the benefit of their country, but not at the cost of conflict with the outside world.

The TSX index is up more than 12% this year, though trading has been choppy in the past couple of weeks due to the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Financials gained ground, with Royal Bank of Canada rising 0.7% to $80.14 and Toronto-Dominion Bank adding 0.7% to $56.90.

The consumer staples group hiked as convenience store chain Alimentation Couche-Tard moved up 1.4% to $30.10.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International climbed 1.5% to $120.95, helped boost the health-care sector.

Also, industrials displayed muscle as Badger Daylighting soared 6% to $28.88.

Metals and mining stocks trailed yesterday's levels, as Major Drilling International dropped 5.8% to $8.47.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported that its New Housing Price Index rose 0.2% in June, up slightly from the 0.1% gain observed in May. The increase was largely the result of higher new home prices in Ontario.


The TSX Venture Exchange backtracked 3.54 points to 996.22

Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher, as health-care and consumer staples gained 0.9%, industrials were up 0.8%.

The five laggards were weighed most by metals and mining, down 1.8%, while gold and energy stocks each lost 1%.


U.S. stocks ended Thursday modestly higher, as softer-than-expected economic data reinforced speculation that the Federal Reserve won't rush to raise interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrials picked up 61.78 points to 16,713.58

The S&P 500 added 8.46 points to 1,955.18. The NASDAQ composite improved 18.87 points to 4,453.

Dow industrials component Wal-Mart lowered its full-year earnings forecast, while second-quarter operating profit met analyst expectations and sales topped those views.

Department-store operator Kohl's shares rallied after the company posted slightly improved second-quarter earnings from a year ago, despite a decline in sales. Same-stores sales turned positive in July.

After Thursday's closing bell, embattled retailer J.C. Penney is projected to report a narrower second-quarter loss of 91 cents U.S. a share.

Nordstrom also will release results after the close, and analysts expect the upscale department store chain to post earnings of 94 cents U.S. for its second quarter.

Tesla Motors Inc. extended the streak of record closes to four straight sessions. Tesla stock has been climbing since reporting strong second-quarter results.

The Class A shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway have hurdled the $200,000 U.S. price level for the first time, nearly eight years after first piercing the $100,000 U.S. mark. S&P Dow Jones Indices' Howard Silverblatt noted that the shares crossed above $100 U.S. in May 1977.

Cisco Systems shares fell after the network-equipment maker said late Wednesday that it plans to cut up to 6,000 jobs.

The latest data out of Europe showed the euro-zone's economy ground to a halt in the second quarter, with Germany - the largest euro-zone economy - unexpectedly contracting in the quarter.

A report from the U.S. Labor Department showed initial jobless claims rose a steeper-than-expected 21,000 to 311,000 in the week ended Aug. 9. But even with that rise, claims were still close to pre-recession levels, boding well for the labour market, which has been strengthening.

The prices paid for goods imported into the U.S. declined by 0.2% in July, the first drop in three months, led lower by fuel prices, the department reported separately.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries gained slightly, lowering yields to 2.40% from Wednesday's 2.41%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell $1.97 to $95.40 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slipped 40 cents at $1,314.10 U.S. an ounce.

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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)

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