Stocks higher to end session
Friday, February 08, 2013 04:23 PM EST Stocks higher to end session Financials highest The Toronto stock market was slightly higher Friday while commodities rose amid better than expected trade data from China. The S&P/TSX composite index was positive 45.31 points to close the day and the week at 12,801.23 The Canadian dollar remained below parity with the U.S. greenback, erasing half a cent to 99.73 cents U.S., on unfavourable macroeconomic news (see below). The tech sector prospered as MacDonald Dettwiler rose $1.10 to $65.90. BlackBerry dumped early gains and was down 40 cents to $16.51. Still, the stock jumped from last Friday’s close of $13.01 after the smartphone maker launched its new Z10 product into the Canadian marketplace on Wednesday amid much optimism. It won’t be on shelves in the U.S. until mid-March. The financials sector rose as Manulife Financial continued to draw strength from a well-received earnings report released Thursday, up 29 cents to $14.84. The energy sector climbed as Talisman Energy advanced 16 cents to $12.75. The consumer staples component also perked, with food company Saputo Inc. ahead 82 cents to $51.65. March copper on the Nymex added three cents to $3.76 U.S. a pound. China is the world’s biggest consumer of the metal, viewed as an economic bellwether as it is used in so many applications. However, the base metals sector fell 1.1%. Teck Resources was down $1.17 to $33.28, adding to a loss of about 6% Thursday, following a weak production forecast included in the miner’s latest earnings report. Among gold issues, Eldorado Gold faded nine cents to $11.25. It was a light day for earnings reports Friday. IGM Financial Inc. rose 17 cents to $43.10 as the mutual fund company saw its fourth-quarter net profit fall to $202.9 million, or 80 cents per share. That’s down from 89 cents per share or $230.6 million in the comparable period of 2011. Fourth-quarter revenue was also down, falling to $632.7 million from $649.6 million. Brookfield Infrastructure is boosting its dividend by 15% to 43 cents per unit even as the Bermuda-headquartered owner of utilities, rail and timber assets reports lower net income in the fourth-quarter. Brookfield units were ahead $1.27 to $39.77. Traders also took in data showing that Chinese exports rose 25% in January from a year earlier, while imports soared 28% But a large part of the increase was due to companies rushing to fill orders before shutting down for up to two weeks for the Lunar New Year holidays that begin Sunday On the domestic economic sheet, Statistics Canada gave out mixed signals on the job front in January. The agency said employment decreased 21,900 (experts had projected a net job gain of 5,000), but lower numbers of those seeking work pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 7.0%. The nation’s number-crunchers also noted that our merchandise imports fell 2.8% in December while exports declined 0.9%. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world dipped from $1.7 billion in November to $901 million in December. Finally, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation declared that both single and multiple housing starts plunged last month, particularly in Ontario. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts came in at 160,577 units in January, down from 197,118 in December. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange decreased 0.3 points to 1,205.81 Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were up at Friday’s close, led by financials, up 0.5%, while information technology and industrials each surged 0.4%. The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by utilities, off 1.2%, while metals and mining stepped back 1.1% and health-care issues were 0.8% to the bad. ON WALLSTREET Earnings that beat expectations gave stock markets in New York a lift. The Dow Jones Industrial Average strengthened 48.92 points to end the day and the week at 13,993, The S&P 500 index moved forward 7.67 points to 1,517.60. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite climbed 28.74 points to 3,193.87, on cheery tidings from AOL and LinkedIn. After a somewhat bumpy week, both the NASDAQ and S&P 500 were on track for their sixth straight week of gains. The Dow was set to close down slightly for the week after topping the 14,000 hurdle a week ago. Markets have had a good run so far this year. The Dow and S&P 500 are both up nearly 7% and near their all-time highs, while the Nasdaq has gained nearly 6%. AOL shares surged 8%, after the web portal reported revenue growth for the first time in eight years. Fourth quarter profits were in line with expectations. Shares of LinkedIn hit an all-time high, one day after the company reported hikes in membership. The online network targeted to professionals handily beat earnings and revenue estimates for the fourth quarter. Apple continued to move higher after the company said it would consider additional ways to return cash to shareholders. Shares of credit ratings agency Moody's fell more than 9% on fears of a government lawsuit against the firm over its ratings of mortgage securities. Shares of Moody's and of McGraw Hill, the parent company of rival Standard & Poor’s, have dropped sharply this week. On Friday, McGraw-Hill stock dropped another 3%. Coinstar's stock tumbled 8%, after the company issued a weak outlook for the first quarter. Economically speaking, the U.S. trade deficit shrank in December to $38.5 billion, down from $48.6 billion U.S. the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Wholesale inventories for December dropped 0.1% compared to expectations that those inventories would rise 0.3%. Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury gained slightly, lowering yields to Thursday’s 1.95%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices dipped 10 cents to $95.73 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices dropped $2.30 to $1,669 U.S. an ounce.
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