The Toronto stock market opened higher Monday, aided by positive news from Asia’s two largest economies. It got an early boost after BlackBerry’s stock jumped more than two per cent following an unconfirmed report that Canadian investor Prem Watsa was close to buying the troubled smartphone company.
BlackBerry shares were up 24 cents to $11.53. The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 32.37 points to 12,853.29. The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.33 of a cent to 96.40 cents (U.S.).
Overnight, Japanese shares rallied, thanks to Tokyo’s Olympic bid victory, which helped boost sentiment, while Chinese stocks surged following positive exports data that added to a picture of gradual recovery in the world’s second largest economy.
The Nikkei 225 jumped nearly 2.5 per cent to close at 14,205.23, and the yen fell after Tokyo was chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and a revised estimate showed the economy grew faster than previously reported in the second quarter. The Olympics are expected to provide a welcome boost, much of it in the construction sector, where the government is already spending heavily as part of its stimulus program.
Chinese stocks rose after data showed that the country’s exports accelerated while inflation edged lower last month, raising hopes that China is on the path to recovery from a slowdown.
It’s the latest sign that China is stabilizing after growth fell to a two-decade low of 7.5 per cent in the second quarter. Shanghai’s benchmark index advanced 3.4 per cent to 2,212.52 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6 per cent to 22,750.65.
On Wall Street, U.S. markets were higher as the Dow Jones industrials rose 101.47 points to 15,023.97, the Nasdaq was up 26.90 points to 3,686.91 and the S&P 500 was ahead 10.51 points to 1,665.68.
In corporate news, shares in Gabriel Resources Ltd. plummeted by nearly 70 per cent, or 99 cents, after it said it has put in an urgent request for the Romanian government to clarify whether it plans to block debate on draft legislation affecting its Rosia Montana gold project.
Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta is reported as saying he would look for other ways to find jobs in the deprived area, where thousands have protested this week against the proposed mine.
Gabriel Resources has struggled for several years to overcome opposition to the project, which opponents say poses too much of an environmental risk because it uses cyanide in the extraction process. Its shares were worth 48 cents in early morning trading.
Meanwhile, uranium producer Cameco Corp. says it will miss its 2013 production target for its Cigar Lake mining project in Saskatchewan due to delays in starting up ore production and mill processing.
The major new mine has been delayed several times in past years due to flooding and other technical issues. The Saskatoon-based company owns about half of Cigar Lake and had previously forecast the mine would produce 300,000 pounds of U3O8 this year but now expects production won’t begin until 2014. Shares in Cameco fell 39 cents or 1.9 per cent to $20.14.
In the U.S., billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he was ending his bitter takeover fight for struggling computer maker Dell a few days before shareholders are scheduled to consider the latest buyout offer from company founder Michael Dell.
Michael Dell’s $24.8-billion bid to take his company private includes an offer of $13.75 per share plus a 13-cent dividend. Dell raised that bid last month after previous offers drew strong criticism from Icahn and other major Dell Inc. investors.
Icahn wanted Michael Dell ousted as CEO and had pitched an alternative offer that would keep the company Traders will be anticipating a clearer message this week on the Syria situation. U.S. President Barack Obama is set to take his case Tuesday to Americans for punishing the Assad regime for an alleged sarin gas attack on civilians Aug. 21. A congressional vote on military action could come sometime this week as lawmakers return from their summer break.
It was quieter in Europe, as the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.1 per cent at 6,524 while Germany’s DAX fell the same rate to 8,271. The CAC-40 in France was 0.4 per cent lower at 4,032.
On the commodities front, December bullion climbed $2.40 to $1,388.90 an ounce and copper was up two cents to $3.28, helped by the Chinese data. The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 63 cents to $109.90 a barrel.