News Column

Stocks fall at open

August 29, 2014

GDP figures released

Stocks in Toronto listed lower on Friday, the last session of a busy August, as investors digested the latest figures on economic growth in this country.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 27.56 points to begin the day at 15,530.61

The Canadian dollar was up 0.14 cents at 92.22 cents U.S.

The risk of a property market crash in Canada has not ebbed, according to an increasing number of analysts polled by Reuters who said chances of a steep fall in prices have increased in the past year.

Irving Oil's oil-by-rail terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, has seen increasing air quality problems since it started up in 2012, undermining the company's assurances to regulators the project would likely not impact the environment, according to documents obtained by Reuters. Irving is family-run and privately owned.

EU lawmakers are threatening to block a multi-billion-dollar trade pact between Canada and the European Union, a blueprint for a much bigger EU-U.S. deal, because it would allow firms to sue governments if they breach the treaty.

National Bank resumes coverage on Altagas with an outperform rating. Altagas shares gained 35 cents to $51.91.

Canaccord Genuity raised the price target on Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to $108.00 from $105.00. CIBC shares faded 24 cents to $102.99.

On the economic calendar, the economy showed encouraging signs in the second quarter of 2014. Figures released by Statistics Canada revealed that real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.8%, following a 0.2% increase in the first quarter. This was the largest quarterly gain since the third quarter of 2011. On a monthly basis, real GDP by industry increased 0.3% in June.

In a mini-blizzard of activity, the agency also said its Industrial Product Price Index declined 0.3% in July, mainly because of lower prices for energy and petroleum products. StatsCan's Raw Materials Price Index declined 1.4%, mostly due to lower prices for crude energy products.


The TSX Venture Exchange slipped 4.55 points to 1,017.82.

The 14 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided between winners, losers and those unwilling to commit to either side. The half-dozen gainers were led by energy stocks, up 0.3%, while gold and the metals and mining group inched up 0.2% each.

The six laggards were weighed mostly by financials, down 0.5%, utilities, sliding 0.3%, and industrials, off 0.2%.

Health-care and information technology issues were both flat in the first hour of trading.


U.S. stocks were mixed Friday, with the S&P 500 eyeing its best August performance in 14 years.

The Dow Jones Industrials fell 38.44 points to 17,041.10.

The S&P 500 dipped 0.75 points to 1,995.99. The NASDAQ eked up 2.12 points to 4,559.82.

The S&P 500 has gained 3.4% for the month through Thursday, and if that holds it would represent the benchmark's best August performance since 2000. The S&P 500 is also on pace for its largest monthly percentage jump since February, when it rose 4.3%.

For the week, the S&P 500 is up 0.6%. The Dow is on track for advances of 0.6% for the week and 3.2% for the month, while the NASDAQ is eyeing climbs of 0.7% for the week and 4.6% for August.

Big Lots Inc. fell 1.5% after the discount retailer reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, while revenue came in slightly below expectations.

Splunk Inc. jumped 9.5% after the software maker late Thursday reported earnings that topped analysts' estimates, while Avago Technologies Ltd. climbed 8.9% as the chip company's earnings, out late Thursday, also beat analysts' expectations.

Consumer spending dipped 0.1% in July, marking its first decline in six months and falling short of the 0.1% increase expected by economists polled by MarketWatch.

Later this morning, the Chicago purchasing managers index for August is to come out, with economists expecting a reading of 57.5. Then, the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for August is slated to hit, with a reading of 80.1 anticipated.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries sagged, prodding yields up to 2.34% from Thursday's 2.33%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices were up 84 cents to $95.39 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices faltered $2.80 to $1,287.60 U.S. an ounce.

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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)

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