Toronto stays higher at noon
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 00:32 PM EST Toronto stays higher at noon BlackBerry, Valeant show strength North American stock markets moved higher early Wednesday ahead of an afternoon statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The S&P TSX index stayed positive 31.95 points to greet the midpoint of the week at 12,805.82 The Canadian dollar captured 0.08 cents to 97.41 cents U.S. Tech stocks surged as BlackBerry ballooned 85 cents, or 5.1%, to $16.27. Other gainers were found in the health-care sector, with Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc., taking on new acquisitions and seeing its stock soar $2.03, or 2.8%, to $75.38. Metals and mining stocks also solidified, with Teck Resources jumping 72 cents, or 2.5%, to $29.17. Gold stocks lurched backward, with Lake Shore Gold dipping three cents, or 4.5%, to 64 cents. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange regained 2.72 points to 1,109.23 All but two of the 14 Toronto subgroups stayed in the green by noon, with information technology stocks leading the way, 2% higher, while health-care soared 1.4%, and metals and mining surged 1.1%. The two laggards were gold, down 0.2% and consumer staples, off 0.02%. ON WALLSTREET The Dow rose to a fresh trading high Wednesday, ahead of the latest statement from the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrials jumped 54.71 points to greet noon at 14,510.50. Earlier, the index rose to a new intraday record high of 14,545. The S&P 500 index was 7.88 points higher to 1,556.22. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite muscled up 15.43 points to 3,244.52. All three major indexes are up between 9% and 11% so far this year in a rally that has largely been driven by the Fed's stimulus policies. In corporate news, FedEx widely missed earnings estimates and cut its outlook for the year. The company is often viewed as a bellwether for the broader economy due to the global scope of its business. FedEx also said it may temporarily ground some aircraft. Shares of rival UPS also fell. BlackBerry shares jumped 5% after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock. The company will soon start selling its new Z10 smartphone to U.S. customers. Shares of Lennar rose after the homebuilder reported better-than-expected earnings. General Mills shares gained after the packaged food company said sales and earnings rose in the most recent quarter. Adobe Systems shares jumped a day after the graphics software maker beat earnings estimates. Shares of Model N surged 36% in the company's stock market debut. The software design company priced its IPO at $15 U.S. per share late Tuesday. The stock was trading at nearly $21 per share in afternoon trading. Investors are also monitoring developments out of Cyprus Wednesday after lawmakers voted against a tax on bank deposits, calling a bailout deal into question. Worries about Cyprus sparked a choppy trading day Tuesday, with U.S. stocks ending mixed. But investors have been increasingly calm about the prospect of financial contagion spreading from the tiny island nation to larger economies in the euro area. Economically speaking, the U.S. Federal Reserve is not expected to announce any significant changes to its current monetary policies, when it releases its statement at 2 p.m. ET. But investors always pay close attention to chairman Ben Bernanke's remarks for any hints on what the Fed will do next. Despite stronger economic data, Bernanke is expected to reiterate his view that the economy is weak and needs support. Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury slipped, raising yields to 1.93% from Tuesday’s 1.91%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices moved 34 cents higher to $92.50 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices dipped $4.70 to $1,606.60 U.S. an ounce.
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