Markets soar to begin February
(Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Metals, health-care lead pack
The Toronto stock market closed out the week on an up note, as U.S. job creation data and a strong showing in the American manufacturing sector raised hopes that indexes can build on January gains.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index leaped 78.98 points to end Friday at 12,764.22. The index had grown just a shade above 2% for January.
The Canadian dollar faded 0.01 cents to 100.25 cents U.S., still above parity with the greenback.
BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd. was up nine cents to $13.01 in Toronto – well off its highs of the day -- after tumbling 17% over the last two sessions following the rollout of its new BlackBerry 10 lineup.
The stock ran up 50% in January alone, and 200% from its 52-week low of $6.10 in September. But availability has become an issue as U.S. customers won't be able to get the BlackBerry Z10 until March, a month later than in Canada.
Imperial Oil, reported higher net income in the fourth quarter as lower expenses more than offset a decrease in revenue. Imperial said its net income in the latest period was $1.07 billion or $1.26 per diluted share. That was up 7% from last year's $1.01 billion, or $1.18 per diluted share. Revenue fell to $7.8 billion from $8.1 billion and its shares gained 11 cents to $43.91.
Montreal-based paper maker Domtar Corp. said quarterly net income dropped to $19 million U.S. or 54 cents per share in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $61 million U.S., or $1.63 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Domtar's revenue fell about $70 million to $1.33 billion.
Adjusted earnings dropped to $46 million or $1.31 per share, nine cents below expectations and Domtar shares fell $4.96, or nearly 6%, to $78.04.
In the base metals sector, March copper on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up a penny to $3.74 U.S. a pound. Teck Resources was ahead 65 cents at $37.00.
Among gold issues, Goldcorp Inc. improved by 39 cents, or 1.1%, to $35.52.
The energy sector climbed as Suncor Energy advanced 52 cents, or 1.5%, to $34.42.
Among financials, Manulife Financial moved up four cents to $14.44.
In economic news, the RBC Purchasing Managers' Index was little changed in January – and manufacturing activity with it -- inching up to 50.5 in the month from the 50.4 level in both December and November.
The TSX Venture Exchange improved 6.59 points to 1,228.30
All but one of the 14 Toronto subgroups were stronger on the day, as health-care, global base metals and the metals and mining group each surged 1.5%
The only group stuck in a rut proved to be utilities, down 0.5%.
U.S. stocks rallied Friday, with the Dow breaking above 14,000 for the first time in more than five years, as investors welcomed a batch of strong economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 149.21 points, or 1.1%, to finish the day and week at 14,009.80, its highest close since Oct. 15, 2007. The Dow is now less than 200 points from its all-time high of 14,198.10.
The S&P 500 recovered 15.02 points to 1,513.13, also its highest level since 2007 -- about 4% away from its record high.
The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite spiked 36.97 points to 3,179.10
Despite the day's big gains, stocks are only up modestly for the week. The Dow is up 0.8%, the S&P 500 has increased 0.7% and the NASDAQ has climbed 0.19%.
In corporate news, Exxon Mobil reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue, but the company's energy production levels declined. Shares rose slightly.
Merck shares declined after the company topped earnings expectations but gave a cautious outlook for 2013.
Shares of toy maker Mattel edged higher after the company said it is raising prices globally. The company is making the move after it missed earnings and sales forecast for the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday shopping period.
Dell shares climbed almost 5% after a Reuters report said the PC maker is nearing a deal to go private as early as Monday. The company, which is behind brands like Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price, said sales of Barbie brand products slipped 4% last quarter.
Zoetis, an animal-health company owned by drug giant Pfizer, raised $2.2 billion U.S. in its initial public offering late Thursday, with shares pricing at $26 U.S. each, well above the target range. Shares jumped 20% on the first day of trading. Zoetis' IPO is the largest since Facebook Inc raised $16 billion U.S. last May.
Google shares rose more than 2%, hitting an all-time high of $775.32 U.S. The last time it hit an all-time high was in October 2012.
On the economic front, the U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs last month, fewer than the 180,000 economists were expecting, but investors were encouraged by the government's revisions to its 2012 data. The revisions showed that the economy added 335,000 more jobs in 2012 than originally reported.
In January, however, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9% from 7.8% in December. Economists were expecting the rate to edge lower to 7.7%.
The Institute for Supply Management's monthly manufacturing index rose to 53.1 in January, a sign that manufacturing sector is continuing to expand. Economists were expecting a reading of 50.5.
The University of Michigan's sentiment index rose to 73.8 in January. Economists were expecting a reading of 71.4.
Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury sagged, raising yields to 2.01% from Thursday 2.00%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices tacked on 15 cents to $97.64 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices added $8.10 to $1,670.10 U.S. an ounce.
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