Canadian stocks extended a four-day gain to settled higher Friday, led by financial and resource issues, on some positive macroeconomic data from the U.S. As well, concerns over the eurozone debt crisis eased after Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated Germany's commitment to the euro.
Investor sentiments strengthened on some encouraging data out of the U.S. which showed consumer confidence to have unexpectedly improved in August, while the current economic conditions index also climbed. Meanwhile, inflation data out of Canada came in tamer than expected, leaving some room for the Bank of Canada to hold rates near record low levels.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Friday at 12,089.89, up 57.31 points or 0.48 percent. The Index touched an intraday high of 12,089.89 and a low of 12,034.88.
The Metals & Mining Index moved up 0.78 percent, with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) up 0.61 percent, while Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) gained 0.66 percent. Osisko Mining Corp. (OSK.TO) shed 0.85 percent.
The Global Gold Index dropped 0.40 percent, even as gold futures for December delivery made a marginal gain of $0.20 or 0.01 percent to close at $1,619.40 an ounce Friday on the NYMEX. The Capped Materials Index gained a modest 0.10 percent.
Among other gold stocks, Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) shed 0.46 percent, Eldorado Gold Corp. (ELD.TO) was down 0.43 percent, Kinross Gold (K.TO) slipped 0.24 percent, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was flat. IAMGOLD Corporation (IMG.TO) gathered 1.63 percent, while Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) moved up 0.40 percent.
Lake Shore Gold Corp. (LSG.TO) dived 16.22 percent after increasing the size of its previously announced public offering on a "bought deal" basis to C$90 million principal amount of convertible senior unsecured debentures, at a price of C$1,000 per debenture, with an interest rate of 6.25 percent per annum.
The Energy Index gained 0.58 percent with U.S. crude oil futures for September delivery gaining $0.41 or 0.4 percent to close at $96.01 a barrel Friday on the NYMEX.
Among energy stocks, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) inched up 0.066 percent, Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) gained 1.15 percent, and Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) slipped 1.21 percent. Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO) gained 1.13 percent.
The Financial Index gained 0.63 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) up 1.01 percent, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) gained 1 percent, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) moved up 0.94 percent. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) shed 1.82 percent.
Among heavyweights, fertilizer maker Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) dropped 0.73 percent, after announcing a planned shutdown of its Saskatchewan mine for nearly a month. Transportation systems maker Bombardier Inc. (BBD.A.TO, BBD.B.TO) edged up 0.55 percent.
Smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM.TO) slipped 0.67 percent. The company had earlier indicated it would provide user friendly applications in its mobiles to facilitate users to tap their contacts' public profiles.
In economic news, Statistics Canada said consumer prices rose 1.3 percent year-over-year in July, following a 1.5 percent gain in June. Higher prices for the purchase of passenger vehicles, food purchased from restaurants, meat and electricity were major factors in the increase of the July inflation. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI declined 0.1 percent in July, after decreasing 0.2 percent in June. Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada's core index rose 1.7 percent in the 12 months to July, following a 2.0 percent gain in June.
In economic news from the U.S., consumer confidence unexpectedly improved in August following increased jitters earlier this summer. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary August index of consumer sentiment increased to 73.6 from 72.3 last month. This was the highest level since May, defying market expectations for a reading of 72.2.
The current economic conditions index climbed to 87.6 from 82.7, but the survey's measure of consumer expectations slipped to 64.5 from 65.6, indicating consumers expect to be thrifty in the coming months.
Eurozone foreign trade surplus increased in June, data released by Eurostat showed. The trade surplus rose to 14.9 billion euros in June from 7.1 billion euros in May. A year ago, the balance was in a surplus of 0.2 billion euros.
Earlier today, data from the Federal Statistics Office revealed German producer price inflation eased to 0.9 percent in July from 1.6 percent in June. Economists expected the rate to ease to 1.2 percent. A year ago, the rate of inflation was 2.1 percent.
Spanish banks' bad loans reached its highest on record in June, the Bank of Spain reported Friday. Bad loans rose to 9.42 percent of total lending in June, compared to 8.95 percent in May. Non-performing loans increased 8.4 billion euros in June, to 164.4 billion euros. The property market crash as well as Spain's record high unemployment rate in the euro area were responsible for the bad loans.
by RTT Staff Writer
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