Canadian stocks pared early losses to end modestly higher for a second straight session Wednesday, mostly on a late rally by gold and mining issues. Earlier, Toronto stocks traded lower, impacted by concerns over the eurozone crisis, with speculations that Greece was getting ready to exit the single currency bloc of the European Union.
Toronto's main index, the S&P/TSX, closed Wednesday at 11,564.80, up 113.02 points or 0.99 percent. The S&P/TSX Composite Index touched an intraday high of 11,567.20 and a low of 11,260.04.
The TSX Venture Index closed at 1,256.48, up 9.73 points or 0.78 percent. The index opened at 1,243.58 compared to its previous close of 1,246.75.
Almost all major indices of the S&P/TSX Index were in positive territory, led by the Diversified Metals & Mining, Materials, and Global Gold indices.
The Metals & Mining Index jumped 3.25 percent with Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) gaining 4.94 percent, while Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) slipped 0.50 percent. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) surged 5.79 percent, while Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) gained 1.18 percent. Osisko Mining Corporation (OSK.TO) gathered 1.93 percent.
The Global Gold Index surged 4.38 percent, although gold futures for June delivery dropped $28.20 or 1.8 percent to close at $1,548.40 an ounce Wednesday on the NYMEX.
Among gold stocks, Eldorado Gold Corp. (ELD.TO) moved up 3.27 percent, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) gained 5.46 percent, and Kinross Gold (K.TO) added 3.79 percent. Goldcorp. (G.TO) surged 6.96 percent, while B2Gold (BTO.TO) gained 4.52 percent. IAMGOLD Corp. (IMG.TO) moved up 5.03 percent.
The Materials Index gained 3.80 percent with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) moving up 0.73 and Mercator Minerals Ltd. (ML.TO) shedding 2.94 percent.
A weekly report from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude oil stockpiles to have edged up 0.90 million barrels, while gasoline stocks shed 3.30 million barrels in the week ended May 18. Analysts expected crude oil inventories to rise by 500,000 barrels, while anticipating gasoline stocks to dip 700,000 barrels.
U.S. crude oil futures dropped to settle lower Wednesday, with July delivery shedding $1.95 or 2.1 percent to close at $89.90 a barrel on the NYMEX.
The Energy Index gained 0.65 percent with Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) edging up 0.81 percent, while Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) gained 1.45 percent. Encana Corp (ECA.TO) gathered 0.72 percent, and Athabasca Oil Corp. (ATH.TO) added 5.29 percent.
Heavyweights transportation systems maker Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) was up 2.40 percent, while smartphone maker Research In Motion Limited (RIM) gained 0.89 percent.
The Financial Index gained 0.62 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) moving up 1.40 percent and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) up 1.16 percent. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) shed 0.53 percent and Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) gained 0.14 percent.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) gained a marginal 0.12 percent, having earlier announced an agreement to sell its interest in the Scotia Plaza complex to Dundee REIT and H&R REIT for approximately $1.266 billion.
Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) gained 1.47 percent after reporting improved second-quarter net income of C$1.03 billion or C$1.51 per share, with an adjusted net income of C$982 million or C$1.44 per share. This compares with analysts' expectations of C$1.36 per share for the quarter. The bank also declared a quarterly dividend of C$0.70 per share.
Full-service investment dealer Canaccord Financial Inc. (CF.TO) slipped over 4 percent after reporting a slip to loss in the fourth-quarter, with net loss of C$31.8 million or $0.42 per share and adjusted earnings of C$0.02 per share from a year ago.
Aviation-training and simulation products provider CAE Inc. (CAE.TO) slipped 1.94 percent despite an improved fourth-quarter profit of C$53.2 million or C$0.21 per share. Analysts expected earnings of C$0.20 per share for the quarter.
Meanwhile, retail drug stores operator Shoppers Drug Mart (SC.TO) edged up 0.88 percent after announcing that it would purchase 19 retail pharmacies and three central fill pharmacies located in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba from Paragon Pharmacies Ltd. (PGN.V) for about $75 million in cash.
Sears Canada Inc. (SCC.TO) rebounded 6.53 percent, after having plunged over 15 percent last week, after Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) revealed plans to spin off a minority stake in Sears Canada Inc.
In economic news, Statistics Canada said retail sales rose 0.4 percent to $39.1 billion in March, more than offsetting the decline in February. Warmer than usual weather, especially in Ontario, contributed to the gains. Gains were reported in 7 of 11 sub sectors, representing 56 percent of total retail sales.
From the U.S., the Commerce Department said that new home sales rose 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 343,000 in April from the revised March rate of 332,000. Economists had expected new home sales to climb to 335,000 from the 328,000 originally reported for the previous month.
In economic news from Europe, retail sales in the U.K. declined at the fastest pace in two years as April's wettest weather on record damped consumer spending, the latest official figures revealed. The Office for National Statistics said that retail sales volume, including automotive fuel, dropped 2.3 percent from a month ago, much faster than the 0.8 percent decrease forecast by economists. This was the biggest drop since January 2010 and followed a revised 2 percent growth in March.
by RTT Staff Writer
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