Mining and technology stocks helped push the Toronto stock market to a positive open Wednesday as it caught up to two solid manufacturing reports that were released while the exchange was closed for Canada Day.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 30.25 points to 15,176.26. The Canadian dollar was up 0.14 of a cent to 93.86 cents (U.S.) after earlier hitting a seven-month high of 94.12 cents.
U.S. indexes were higher amid positive job creation news as the Dow Jones industrials climbed 28 points to 16,984.07, the Nasdaq was up 5.34 points to 4,463.99 and the S&P 500 index rose 2.1 points to 1,975.42.
On Tuesday, the Dow and the S&P 500 entered the second half of 2014 trading by hitting new records after data showed that Chinese manufacturing grew in June for the first time in six months. In the U.S., the manufacturing sector advanced for a 13th straight month of growth.
“Our global manufacturing confidence index has reversed much of the first quarter decline, led by the U.S. and China,” said a commentary from Barclays Research.
“Reassuringly, forward-looking components suggest the improvement should last well into (the second half of 2014).”
Meanwhile, traders looked ahead to the other major economic event for the week – the release Friday of the U.S. government’s employment report for June. Ahead of that data, U.S. payrolls firm ADP reported that the private sector created 281,000 jobs during June, much higher than the 205,000 reading that had been forecast. Economists expect the government’s report to show that the economy cranked out about 210,000 jobs last month.
In corporate news, JPMorgan Chase chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon said he has curable throat cancer. In a message to employees and shareholders, Dimon said he plans to remain on the job and be actively involved in key decisions while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Despite the reassurance, Dimon’s illness could raise leadership concerns at one of the world’s biggest banks. The bank’s shares declined 25 cents to $57.31.
In Canada, paper products firm Cascades has sold its fine papers operations to Rolland Enterprises Inc., a subsidiary of H.I.G. Capital for $39.5-million (Canadian). The sale involves three plants in Quebec. Cascades shares dipped two cents to $6.59.
Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd. says it has suspended all operations at its mines for the year, due to the low price of iron ore and a refocus by the company to cut costs. The company also said Wednesday that it had a net loss of $20.5-million, or 15 cents per share in the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $71.3-million, or 65 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Its shares were unchanged at 10 cents.
TSX advancers were led by the information technology sector, up almost two per cent as BlackBerry ran up 62 cents or 5.67 per cent to $11.56.
Commodities were mixed as July copper gained two cents to $3.22 a pound and the base metals component gained 1.1 per cent.
The energy sector was flat with August crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 53 cents to $104.81 a barrel.
The gold sector led decliners, down 0.5 per cent, while August bullion rose 90 cents to $1,327.50 an ounce.