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TSX Edges Up Amid Cyprus Concerns - Canadian Commentary


Snapping their two-session losing streak, Canadian stocks were moving higher Wednesday morning as commodities recovered after lawmakers in Cyprus rejected a plan to tax bank accounts to stabilize the country's banks and clear the way for an international bailout. However, gains are limited as traders await the outcome of two-day FOMC meeting, due out later today.

Cyprus Parliament on Tuesday rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits in return for a 10 billion euros European bailout, putting the rescue deal in shambles. Lawmakers voted 36-0 to reject the bill, while the ruling party abstained. Meanwhile, Eurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch Finance Minister, said the EU stands ready to help Cyprus, provided it adheres to the bailout conditions.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 25.78 points or 0.20 percent to 12,799.66, after losing about 0.50 percent in the past two sessions.

Smartphone maker Research In Motion (BB.TO) gained about 5 percent.

Home improvement retailer Rona Inc. (RON.TO)gathered nearly 1 percent after it said that it has appointed Robert Sawyer as President and CEO, effective in April. Before joining Rona, Sawyer was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Canadian grocer Metro Inc. (MRU.TO). Meanwhile, shares of Metro Inc. edged up 0.20 percent.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. ( VRX.TO) jumped 4 percent after announcing that it would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Obagi Medical Products Inc. (OMPI) for $19.75 per share cash, representing a 28 percent premium to Obagi's closing share price on March 19, 2013, the last trading day prior to announcement.

Latest data from the EIA revealed that US crude oil inventories dipped by 1.30 million barrels and gasoline stocks shed 1.5 million barrels in the weekended March 15. Analysts expected crude oil inventories to gain by 2 million barrels, while gasoline stocks are expected to decline 2.1 million barrels last week.

Crude for May delivery gained $0.01 to $92.53 a barrel.

In the oil patch, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and Canadian National Resources (CNQ.TO) moved up about 1 percent each.

The price of gold was ticking lower flat Wednesday morning, with the US dollar little changed ahead of the outcome of the two-day FOMC meeting, later today. Gold for April edged down $4.10 to $1,607.20 an ounce.

In the gold space, Royal Gold (RGL.TO) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) added around 1 percent each, while Detour Gold (DGC.TO) was shedding close to 1 percent.

Mexico focused gold miner Timmins Gold Corp. (TMM.TO) lost 1 percent after reporting fourth quarter earnings of $12 million, up slightly from the prior-year earnings of $11.53 million. Earnings per share edged up to $0.09 from $0.08 last year.

Medical diagnostics & research company TearLab Corp. (TLB.TO) reported that its fourth-quarter net loss was about $3.7 million, or $0.13 per share, compared to a net loss of $3.5 million, or $0.17 per share In last year's fourth quarter. Analysts expected the company to report a loss of $0.10 per share The stock was down 1.5 percent

In economic news from the euro zone, Germany's producer price inflation slowed more than economists expected in February, data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed. The producer price index increased 1.2 percent on an annual basis in February, notably slower than the 1.7 percent gain seen in January. Economists were looking for a 1.5 percent.

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and two other policymakers voted to increase the quantitative easing, while other six members said further stimulus will raise inflationary risk, the minutes of the meeting held on March 6 and 7 showed Meanwhile, all other members voted to retain the asset purchase programme at GBP 375 billion.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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