December 07, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST
Stocks swoon by noon
Friday, December 07, 2012 00:43 PM EST Stocks swoon by noon Scotiabank, Goldcorp in focus North American stock markets shed much of their early gains late morning Friday as worries about the U.S. plunging over the fiscal cliff competed with much better than expected job creation data in Canada and the United States. The S&P/TSX composite index gained 15.45 points to reach noon at 12,156.58 The Canadian dollar was up 0.22 cents to 101.10 cents U.S. Traders also took in a strong earnings report from Bank of Nova Scotia. Net income jumped 31% from a year ago to $1.5 billion, while the bank's adjusted earnings came in at $1.21 a share, three cents better than estimates. Its shares added three cents to $55.59 U.S. as the bank narrowly missed revenue estimates. The Scotiabank results capped a string of generally positive earnings report from the big banks. But TD Bank and CIBC lost ground Thursday as their reports showed that adjusted earnings beat expectations but those banks also missed on revenue forecasts while National Bank matched forecasts. Among gold plays, Goldcorp Inc. climbed 32 cents to $36.80. Industrials were also higher with Canadian National Railways up 67 cents to $90.25. The base metals sector declined, with March copper ahead two cents at $3.67 U.S. a pound. Teck Resources gave back 90 cents to $34.10 while Lundin Mining shed 24 cents to $5.01. The energy sector was down as oil prices slipped back into negative territory after demand concerns helped push oil down for the previous three sessions, Imperial Oil was down 65 cents to $42.89. The European Commission has given its OK to China National Offshore Oil Co.'s $15.1-billion bid for Calgary's Nexen Inc. The clearance was granted today under the E.U. Merger Regulation as both companies are active in oil and gas plays around the word. Nexen, for example, has operations in the North Sea. The major hurdle for the deal is a review under the Investment Canada Act which will determine if it is of net benefit to Canada. The review deadline is this coming Monday, but that can be extended. Nexen shares added five cents to $24.92. In other corporate news, the $6.1-billion takeover of Viterra Inc. by Swiss commodity trader Glencore International has been approved by China's ministry of commerce. It's the final regulatory step required for Glencore to buy Viterra, a Canadian company with major grain handling operations in Australia. As a result of the final approval, Glencore expects the effective closing date of the deal to be Dec. 17. Viterra shares were up 37 cents to $16.22. On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported this morning that employment rose in this country by 59,000 in November, the result of an increase in full-time work. The unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 7.2%, after being fairly static in October. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange shed 2.77 points to 1,183.93 Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were up in mid-Friday trading, led by gold and health-care issues, up 0.4% each, while consumer staples advanced 0.3%. The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by metals and mining, down 1.2%, telecoms, down 0.3%, and energy, slipping 0.2%. ON WALLSTREET Stocks were mixed by Friday afternoon, giving up some early morning gains. The Dow Jones Industrials remained afloat 41.05 points by noon to 13,115.10, helped by shares of JPMorgan Chase. The S&P 500 moved higher 0.39 points to 1,414.33, while the Nasdaq Composite Index doffed 18.70 points to 2,970.57. A dip in shares of Apple weighed on the tech-heavy Nasdaq index. On the corporate front, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for posting information about the company on his Facebook page that he hadn't disclosed to the SEC. Shares dipped almost 1%. Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. dropped more than 6% even though the gun maker reported strong quarterly earnings results and boosted its full-year outlook. The U.S. Labor Department reported employers added 146,000 jobs in November, much better than the 77,000 jobs economists had predicted. But the latest consumer sentiment reading from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan served as a stark reminder that consumers still aren't on board with the economic recovery. The index unexpectedly fell to 74.5 in December, coming in way below forecasts and down from 82.7 in November. On top of that, worries about the fiscal cliff and ongoing back and forth wrangling in Washington continues to keep investors on edge. If lawmakers fail to strike a deal before the end of the year to avert the $500 billion of scheduled tax increases and spending cuts, they risk pushing the U.S. economy into recession. Treasury prices drooped, thus raising yields on the 10-year note to 1.62% from Thursday’s 1.58%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices ditched 21 cents to $86.05 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices gained 70 cents an ounce to $1,702.50 U.S.
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