Canadian stocks pared losses to settle higher Thursday, led by energy issues after Progress Energy Resources shares surged on news of its acquisition by Malaysia's PETRONAS. Toronto stocks moved into positive territory in a late rally, amid continued concerns over the outcome of the European Union summit meeting underway in Brussels.
The EU summit meet underway in Brussels is unlikely to offer any resolution to the eurozone debt problems, with Germany firm against any move towards a common eurozone bond system.
Toronto's main index, the S&P/TSX, closed Thursday at 11,424.70, up 13.76 points or 0.12 percent. The S&P/TSX Composite Index touched an intraday high of 11,424.70 and a low of 11,270.15.
The TSX Venture Index closed at 1,164.42, down 7.01 points or 0.60 percent. The index opened at 1,172.70 compared to its previous close of 1,171.43.
Among major components of the S&P/TSX Index in the red were the Capped Materials Index and the Global Gold Index. The major gainers included the Energy Index and the Information Technology Index.
Progress Energy Resources Corp. (PRQ.TO) soared 73.59 percent after announcing that it would be acquired by PETRONAS' Canadian subsidiary, PETRONAS Carigali Canada Ltd at a cash price of C$20.45 per share.
U.S. crude oil futures for August delivery, dropped $2.52 or 3.1 percent to close at $78.69 a barrel Thursday on the NYMEX.
The Energy Index moved up 2.04 percent with Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) up 6.73 percent, Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) up 4.30 percent, and Athabasca Oil Corporation (ATH.TO) up 3.45 percent. Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) up 0.21 percent, while Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) edged down 0.15 percent.
Oil and gas company Niko Resources (NKO.TO) rose 3.38 percent despite slipping to a fourth quarter loss of $183.3 million or $3.55 per share from a profit last year. The company also scaled down its 2013 production guidance to 175,000 Mcfe/d from 227,539 Mcfe/d produced this fiscal year.
The Metals & Materials Index was down 0.89 percent with Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) down 2.99 percent and Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) edged down 0.20 percent. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) shed 1.36 percent, while Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN.TO) slipped 0.49 percent.
The Financial Index edged down 0.35 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) shedding 0.35 percent, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) down 1.75 percent, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was up 0.09 percent. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) shed 0.65 percent.
Smartphone maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM.TO) gained 0.21 percent, while transportation systems maker Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) slipped 0.25 percent.
Gold futures for August delivery dropped $28.00 or 1.8 percent to close at $1,550.40 an ounce Thursday on the NYMEX. The Global Gold Index plunged 1.99 percent.
Among gold stocks, Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) dropped 3.89, while Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) edged down 0.35 percent. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) slipped 2.13 percent, while Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) shed 2.79 percent.
The Materials Index declined 1.50 percent with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) gaining 1.85 percent and Agrium Inc. (AGU.TO) down 0.75 percent.
Biopharmaceutical company Lorus Therapeutics Inc. (LOR.TO) gained over 6 percent after the Canadian Intellectual Property Office issued patent for its cancer immunotherapy agent, IL-17E.
Silver miner Tahoe Resources (THO.TO) dived close to 23 percent amid reports that Guatemala is seeking to buy stakes of up to 40 percent in mining companies operating in the country.
Shaw Communications (SJR_B.TO) edged up 0.21 percent after reporting improved third quarter net income of C$238 million or C$0.53 per share, beating analysts estimate of C$0.44 per share.
In economic news, the U.S. Commerce Department said the nation's GDP increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter compared to the 3.0 percent growth seen in the fourth quarter. The unrevised pace of growth came in line with the expectations of economists.
Meanwhile, new claims for unemployment fell somewhat for the week but nevertheless remained slightly higher than predicted, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The level of initial unemployment claims were at a seasonally adjusted level of 386,000 for the week ending June 23, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 392,000. Most economists expected a somewhat lower level of 385,000 new claims.
From the eurozone, unemployment in Germany increased more than expected in June, reports said citing data from the labor ministry. Unemployment rose by 7,000 in June from a month earlier compared to expectations for an increase of 3,000. The unemployment rate rose to 6.8 percent from 6.7 percent in May, while expectations were for a steady rate.
Meanwhile, eurozone economic confidence declined less than economists expected in June, survey results from European Commission showed. The economic confidence index fell to 89.9 in June from 90.5, but remains above the consensus forecast of 89.6. Falling confidence in industry, services and, to a lesser extent, among consumers was counterbalanced by improving confidence in retail trade and construction.
by RTT Staff Writer
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