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TSX Slips Amid Cyprus Bailout; Blackberry In Focus - Canadian Commentary


Canadian stocks were moving lower Monday morning even as risk appetite improved after the region's finance ministers reached a last-minute agreement with Cyprus on a 10 billion euro bailout deal, averting an imminent collapse of the country's financial sector. The plan envisages splitting Laiki or Cyprus Popular Bank immediately into a good bank and bad bank, with the good bank to be folded into the Bank of Cyprus.

However, weak gold stocks and cautiousness ahead of earnings report from smartphone maker Research In Motion weighed on trader sentiment.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 31.89 points or 0.25 percent to 12,725.45.

Smartphone maker Research In Motion (BB.TO) lost about 4 percent after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to 'neutral' from 'buy,' citing poor sales of its newly launched smartphones. RIM results are due out later this week.

Gold stocks were in the red following a slump in the bullion prices. The price of gold was moving lower Monday morning as risk appetite improved after Cyprus clinched an alternative deal to avert a collapse of its banking system. Gold for April shed $7.40 to $1,598.70 an ounce.

Among gold plays, Yamana Gold (YRI.TO),Alamos Gold (AGI.TO), Royal Gold (RGL.TO), Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) and Goldcorp. (G.TO) were down around 2 percent each.

South America focused gold miner International Minerals Corp. (IMZ.TO) shed 3 percent after it said a $140 million term loan facility agreement with a consortium of Peruvian banks has been signed by Minera Suyamarca S.A.C. to part finance the capital costs required to complete the development and construction of the Inmaculada gold-silver project located in Peru.

Precious metals miner North American Palladium (PDL.TO) said it has closed the sale of its Quebec-based gold division, NAP Quebec Mines Ltd., to Maudore Minerals Ltd (MAO.V) for $18 million in cash and 1.5 million common shares of Maudore. The stock edged up 0.75 percent.

Base-metals miner Inmet Mining Corp. (IM.TO) lost about 1 percent after it said its board recommends that all Inmet shareholders tender their shares to the First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) extended offer on or before the deadline of 5:00 p.m on April 1 in order to facilitate prompt receipt of the offer consideration. Shares of First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) surrendered just over 2 percent.

The price of crude oil was moving higher Monday morning as risk appetite improved after Cypriot deal. Crude for May delivery gained $1.37 to $95.08 a barrel.

In the oil patch, Tourmaline Oil (TOU.TO) added over 1 percent, while Niko Resources (NKO.TO) losing close to 2 percent.

AltaGas Ltd. (ALA.TO) lost over 3 percent after it said its indirect wholly owned unit, AltaGas Power Holdings (U.S.) Inc. would buy a 507 MW natural gas-fired combined cycle plant for $515 million.

Pharmaceutical company Cangene Corp. (CNJ.TO) jumped over 7 percent after announcing that the US FDA has approved its Botulism Antitoxin, Heptavalent, used for treatment of suspected or documented exposure to the botulinum neurotoxin A, B, C, D, E, F or G.

Branded specialty food products company Premium Brands Holdings Corp. (PBH.TO) added over 1 percent after announcing that it would buy Freybe Gourmet Foods Ltd, western Canada's leading manufacturers of premium gourmet deli meats for about $55 million.

Wire-line telecommunication services provider Otelco Inc. (OTT_UN.TO) announced that on March 24, 2013, it filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Interestingly, the stock gained over 8 percent.

In economic news from the euro zone, house prices in the U.K. advanced at the fastest pace in three years in March, driven by a notable improvement in the capital city on higher property demand, a survey by property researcher Hometrack showed. House prices in England and Wales rose 0.3 percent in March from the prior month, the biggest increase since March 2010.

Meanwhile, U.K. mortgage approvals for house purchases declined to 30,506 in February from 31,983 in January, the British Bankers' Association reported Monday. It was forecast to rise to 33,500.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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