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Commodities Lift TSX Thursday Morning - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks were hovering in the green Thursday morning as commodities were ticking higher after Spain incurred higher borrowing cost to raise 10-year bonds at the top end of the targeted amount. However, rumors of a possible downgrade of France's sovereign debt rating capped big gains.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 58.63 points or 0.46 percent to 12,187.52.

The price of crude oil was extending losses Thursday morning on demand concerns. Crude for May delivery slipped $0.23 to $102.44 a barrel.

In the oil patch, Niko Resources (NKO.TO) rose nearly 3 percent. Baytex Energy Corp. (BTE.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) were up around 1 percent each.

Meanwhile, the price of gold was moving higher, with gold for June adding $7.50 to $1,647.10 an ounce.

Among gold plays, Detour Gold (DGC.TO) was up close to 3 percent. Goldcorp. (G.TO) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) were up over 1 percent each.

According to media reports, Research In Motion (RIM.TO) is likely to finalize JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) as its financial adviser to help it weigh strategy options. The stock was up nearly 2 percent.

Meanwhile, Aastra Technologies (AAH.TO) dived 12 percent after reporting first quarter earnings that came in below street expectations. The telecommunications company reported a sharp increase in first-quarter net profit at C$1.96 million or C$0.14 per share compared to C$184,000 or C$0.01 per share last year. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.35 per share.

In economic news from the U.S., the Labor Department said new unemployment claims for the week ended April 14, came in at a seasonally adjusted level of 386,000.That marks a 2,000 decline from the previous week's revised level of 388,000 new unemployment claims. However the revised figures were up from initial estimates that put the level of new claims for the week ending April 7 at 380,000. Most economists had expected the level of new claims to fall from even the initially reported figure to a level of 365,000 for the week ending April 14.

Separately, the National Association of Realtors said existing home sales fell 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.48 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.60 million in February. The drop surprised economists, who had expected existing home sales to edge up to 4.62 million from the 4.59 million originally reported for the previous month.

Earlier today, an auction of Spanish debt drew strong demand. The Treasury sold EUR 2.54 billion of 2- and 10-year bonds, slightly exceeding the EUR 2.50 billion maximum target set for the sale. However, the yield on the 10-year benchmark bond rose to 5.743 percent from 5.403 percent in the previous auction in January.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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