News Column

Stumble at start for TSX

August 22, 2014

Inflation numbers out

Stocks in Toronto hesitated at Friday's open, investors remaining on the sidelines ahead of speeches by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The S&P/TSX composite index stumbled out of the gate 29.41 points to open for business at 15,526.68

The Canadian dollar was up 0.02 cents at 91.41 cents U.S.

Royal Bank of Canada reported a 4% increase in quarterly earnings on Friday, driven by strong results from its wealth management and capital markets divisions. RBC shares faded 80 cents to $80.86.

A federal judge in California on Thursday denied a request by Allergan Inc to expedite its civil suit claiming that Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and Pershing Square Capital Management engaged in insider trading ahead of their bid to buy Allergan. Valeant shares gained 56 cents to $125.10.

CIBC raised the target price on Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp to $9 from $8.25, maintaining a sector perform rating. Algonquin shares nicked ahead a penny to $8.89.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported this morning that inflation dipped some last month. Consumer prices rose 2.1% in the 12 months to July, following a 2.4% increase in June. But, on a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, CPI fell 0.1% in July, after rising 0.3% in June.

The agency also told us that retail sales continued their winning streak in June, up 1.1% to $42.6 billion, to make six straight positive months.


The TSX Venture Exchange doffed 2.40 points to 999.80

Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were down to begin the day, with global base metals shedding 0.5%, energy down 0.4%, and financials off 0.2%.

The five gainers were led by information technology and consumer staples, each up 0.4%, and utilities, up 0.2%.


U.S. stocks traded near the flat line in early action Friday, as investors largely appeared to shrug at Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's balanced speech at a high-profile gathering of the world's central bankers.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 8.83 points to open the week's last session at 17,030.66

The S&P 500 faded 1.34 points to 1,991.03. The NASDAQ gained 6.5 points to 4,538.60

Barring a Friday shakeup, the three main indexes are on track to log weekly advances. Thursday's session ended with the S&P 500 marking its 28th record close this year, the Dow finishing above 17,000 for the first time since July 24 and the NASDAQ ending at its highest level since March 31, 2000. The S&P 500 is up 1.9% for the week, the Dow is up 2.4% and the NASDAQ, 1.6%.

Women's apparel retailer Ann Inc. posted second-quarter earnings and sales that topped analysts expectations, but offered muted third-quarter guidance. Shares fell 5%.

AÉropostale Inc. shares dropped 7% after the clothing retailer's forecast a wider-than-expected loss for the fiscal third quarter.

Apple Inc. shares were up 0.3%. The company's suppliers are struggling to get enough screens ready for the launch of the bigger-screened iPhone 6 next month, according to a report by Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

Also on the upside, Foot Locker Inc. shares jumped 2.3% after the athletic shoe retailer's second-quarter results came in better than Wall Street anticipated.

Ross Stores Inc. gained 6.6% as second-quarter earnings at the discounter rose 12%. Ross also raised its full-year earnings projection.

GameStop Corp. shares climbed 6.8% after the videogame retailer's third-quarter earnings forecast outpaced estimates.

Yellen, at her speech at the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., said the economy is getting closer to the Fed's goals of full employment and stable inflation, and the debate at the central bank is "naturally shifting" to debating when the central bank should begin to raise interest rates.

Balancing this more hawkish tone, Yellen said that 19 labour market indicators followed by the Fed suggest that the decline in the unemployment rate overstates the improvement in overall labor market conditions.

Minutes of the Fed's meeting in July, released this week, showed senior officials are becoming increasingly divided on how fast the labour market is improving. But many Fed policy makers believe more improvement is needed before they begin raising interest rates.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries were lower, raising yields to 2.42% from Thursday's 2.41%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 66 cents to $93.30 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained $3.60 to $1,279.00 U.S. an ounce.

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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)

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