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Barrick Gold chairman Peter Munk speaks at the company's annual general meeting on May 2, 2012. (CHRIS YOUNG/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Barrick Gold chairman Peter Munk speaks at the company's annual general meeting on May 2, 2012. (CHRIS YOUNG/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

At midday: TSX flat amid failed Barrick/Newmont merger talks Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was little changed Monday as traders looked to major developments on the merger and acquisition front and a heavy slate of corporate earnings and economic data.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 4.04 points to 14,543.32, weighed down by weakness in the mining sectors.

Part of that performance came from Barrick Gold after talks between the Canadian company and Newmont Mining broke off. The news came two days before Barrick’s annual meeting, where company chairman and industry legend Peter Munk was due to step down. Barrick shares lost 32 cents to $19.41.

Elsewhere, U.S. pharmaceutical firm Pfizer has offered to buy Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca for around $100-billion (U.S.).

The Canadian dollar was up 0.08 of a cent to 90.69 cents (U.S.).

Positive housing data helped push U.S. indexes higher with the Dow Jones industrials ahead 86.35 points to 16,447.81, the Nasdaq edged up 2.37 points to 4,077.93 and the S&P 500 index was up 5.73 points to 1,869.13.

The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.4 per cent to 97.4 last month, the first increase since June and a sign that the U.S. housing market may pick up after a sluggish start to the year.

Later in the week, the Federal Reserve makes its next interest rate announcement Wednesday and U.S. April jobs data comes out on Friday.

Investors also focused on rising tensions in the Ukraine crisis.

On Monday, the United States government imposed sanctions against seven Russian government officials and 17 companies with links to President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

The White House says the penalties are being levied because Russia has failed to live up to commitments it agreed to under an international accord aimed at de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

Corporate earnings will help set the tone on markets this coming week.

In Canada, Imperial Oil, Suncor, Cenovus Energy and Canadian Natural Resources are expected to report results.

The energy sector is the best-performing group on the TSX year to date, up about 15 per cent.

“I see some good, positive results,” said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investment.

“Oil prices have remained relatively high, I think our discount relative to U.S. oil has diminished, which should help out the oil sands producers.”

A lower Canadian dollar has also helped boost sales in U.S. currency.

On Monday, Precision Drilling reported first-quarter net earnings of $102-million, or 35 cents per diluted share, up from $93-million, or 33 cents per diluted share a year ago. Revenues increased 13 per cent to $672-million, mainly due to higher pricing and drilling activity in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. Its earnings missed expectations by a penny, but its shares gained 21 cents to $14.05.

Advancers and decliners were about evenly split on the TSX with consumer staples stocks leading gainers, up one per cent.

On the commodity markets, June crude in New York added seven cents to $100.67 (U.S.) a barrel and the TSX energy sector rose 0.2 per cent.

The gold sector led decliners, down 1.65 per cent while June bullion lost $7.50 to $1,293.30 an ounce.

The base metals sector declined 0.8 per cent as July copper was unchanged at $3.09 a pound.

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