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TSX Flat Amid Cautious Trade - Canadian Commentary


Canadian stocks were little changed Friday morning as traders were cautious amid concerns over the anemic global economic outlook, anxiety over U.S. budget talks and escalating violence in the Middle East. However, value buying support stocks at bottom levels as the main index dived to a fresh three-month low in the previous session.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index eased 15.69 points or 0.13 percent to 11,795.69, after shedding nearly 500 points or 4 percent in the past four sessions.

The price of crude oil was moving higher Friday morning even as traders fret over demand growth amid global economic concerns and the US fiscal cliff, which would lead to tax hikes and spending cuts of about $600 billion will kick in early next year if the Congress fails to avert them. Crude for January rose $1.09 to $86.96 a barrel.

In the oil patch, Niko Resources (NKO.TO) dived 10 percent, Bonterra Energy (BNE.TO) and Tourmaline Oil (TOU.TO) were down nearly 2 percent each.

Atlantic Power Corp. (ATP.TO) eased 0.50 percent after announcing that it would acquire Ridgeline Energy Holdings Inc., from Veolia. Ridgeline Energy for approximately $88 million.

On the other hand, oil and gas company Long Run Exploration (LRE.TO) gained 7 percent after it said it would divest certain non-core assets including Plato / Dodsland / Lucky Hills areas of Saskatchewan, for approximately $180 million.

Non-hazardous solid waste collection and landfill disposal services provider Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (BIN.TO) slipped 0.60 percent after it said that it has acquired, through its wholly owned subsidiary Waste Services of Florida, Inc., Choice Environmental Services, Inc for cash consideration of $123.25 million.

Meanwhile, Swisher Hygiene (SWI.TO), the parent company of Choice Environmental Services, Inc, soared 35 percent

The price of gold was little changed Friday morning as downbeat euro zone macroeconomic data hurt the euro and stocks. Gold for December eased $2.00 to $1,711.80 an ounce.

Among gold plays, Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Goldcorp. (G.TO) were recovering from their early trading losses, edging up around 0.50 percent each.

International pharmaceutical company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX.TO) rose nearly 3 percent after announcing that it obtained FTC clearance for the proposed acquisition of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp.

McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. (MHR.TO) declared a special, one-time dividend of C$12.00 per common share payable on December 14, 2012, to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 27, 2012. The stock added 0.50 percent.

In economic news, Statistics Canada said foreign investment in Canadian securities gained to $13.9 billion in September, largely due to the strength of purchases of government bonds and corporate equities. Meanwhile, Canadian investment in foreign securities reached a six-month high of $6.0 billion, led by the acquisition of US equities.

Elsewhere, the euro zone trade surplus increased to EUR 9.8 billion in September, Eurostat reported. The surplus totaled EUR 5.2 billion in August and EUR 1.7 billion in September 2011. On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports dropped 1.1 percent in September month-on-month, partially offsetting a 3.3 percent rise in August. Likewise, imports slipped 2.7 percent after increasing 2.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the euro area current account surplus declined to EUR 0.8 billion in September from EUR 10.9 billion in August, the European Central Bank said.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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