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TSX Flat Amid Euro Zone Worries - Canadian Commentary

4/24/2012 11:10 AM ET

Canadian stocks were little changed Tuesday morning as commodities were mixed after Spain received strong demand for its nearly $2.6 billion auction of short-term debt, though it had to pay sharply higher interest rates. However, political uncertainty in the euro zone, which cast doubt about the region's ability to forge tough austerity measures, weighed on trader sentiment.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index edged down 0.74 points or 0.01 percent to 11,988.21, after losing over 160 points or 1.3 percent in the past two sessions.

The price of crude oil edged up as traders await more clues from the US inventories data. Today after the market hours, the API will release its report on US crude oil inventories for the weekended April 20. Crude for June edged up $0.59 to $103.70 a barrel.

In the oil patch, Celtic Exploration (CLT.TO) rose over 2 percent, while Petrobakken Energy (PBN.TO) was slipping close to 3 percent.

Bonterra Energy (BNE.TO) and Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) eased close to 1 percent each.

Canfor Pulp Products (CFX.TO) dived 10 percent after reporting a sharply lower first quarter earnings

On the positive side, electronics components company Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) jumped 8 percent after reporting that its first-quarter IFRS net earnings was $43.2 million or $0.20 per share, up from $30.0 million or $0.14 per share in the same quarter last year. Non-IFRS Adjusted net earnings declined to $53.6 million or $0.25 per share, down from $54.7 million or $0.25 per share in the same quarter last year. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $0.21 per share

Base-metals miner Teck Resources (TCK_B.TO) edged up 0.50 percent after reporting adjusted first quarter profits of C$504 million or C$0.86 per share up from C$450 million or C$0.76 per share n the prior-year quarter.

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) added 1 percent after declaring an increase in its next quarterly dividend to C$0.35 per share, from C$0.30 per share. Last Friday, Canadian Pacific Railway reported first-quarter net income of C$142 million or C$0.82 per share, higher than C$34 million or C$0.20 per share a year ago.

In economic news, Canadian retails sales edged down 0.2 percent to $38.9 billion in February, after recording gains in the previous month, Statistics Canada said. Lower sales were reported in 5 of 11 sub-sectors, representing 57 percent of total retail sales. In volume terms, retail sales decreased 0.6 percent.

From south of the border, a report released by Standard & Poor's revealed that the home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas showed a modest increase in the month of February. The report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index edged up by 0.2 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis.

According to figures released by the Commerce Department, new sales of single-family houses came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000. That rate marks a notable, 7.1 percent, drop from the revised February rate of 353,000.

From the euro zone, the U.K.'s public sector net borrowing rose from a year-ago level in March, data from the Office for National Statistics showed. Public sector net borrowing (PSNB) excluding temporary effects of financial interventions, was GBP 18.2 billion in March, up from last year's GBP 17.95 billion. This was also higher than GBP 12.2 billion in borrowing in February and above economists' forecast of GBP 16 billion.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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