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(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

At the open: TSX edges up as jobs data suggest no rush to taper Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was higher Tuesday amid weaker than expected U.S. jobs data that suggested the Federal Reserve likely is in no rush to start winding up a key element of economic stimulus.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 51.23 points to 13,237.76 as mining stocks advanced alongside copper and gold prices.

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The U.S. Labour Department said job creation for September came in at 148,000 while the jobless rate dipped 0.1 per cent to 7.2 per cent. Economists had been looking for job gains in the neighbourhood of 180,000.

Also, August job creation was revised upward from 169,000 to 193,000.

The report was to have been released weeks ago but got held up because of the partial U.S. government shutdown, which ended last week.

There has been growing speculation since May about when the Fed might start to taper its monthly purchase of US$85-billion of assets that have kept interest rates low and supported strong gains on many equity markets this year.

“Overall, the soft data could have markets pushing the timing for Fed tapering out even further,” said CIBC World Markets economist Andrew Grantham.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.07 of a cent at 97.15 cents US as other data showed that retail sales edged up 0.2 per cent during August to $40.3-billion. Statistics Canada said that higher sales at food and beverage stores were partially offset by weaker sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations. Economists had expected a gain of 0.3 per cent.

U.S. indexes were higher as the Dow Jones industrials moved up 37.84 points to 15,430.04, the Nasdaq gained 20.8 points to 3,940.85 and the S&P 500 index added 6.26 points to 1,750.92.

The TSX gold sector led advancers, up 2.5 per cent while December bullion advanced $13.90 to US$1,329.70 an ounce.

The base metals sector gained 1.4 per cent as the December copper contract on the Nymex rose three cents to US$3.30 a pound.

The energy component edged up 0.25 per cent with oil prices lower after other data showed rising inventories. The U.S. government said Monday, in a report delayed five days due to the government shutdown, that U.S. crude supplies rose by four million barrels in the week ended Oct. 11.

The Schork Report estimated that U.S. commercial crude oil stocks are at the third highest level for October since 1930 and 13 per cent above the normal range over the previous decade.

The November crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged 22 cents lower to US$99 a barrel.

The tech sector led decliners with CGI Group (TSX:GIB.A) down $1.29 to $35.46.

Traders also also focused on earnings news this week.

After the close Monday, Netflix reported that earnings quadrupled as the Internet video subscription service’s line-up of original programming helped attract 1.3 million more U.S. subscribers during its latest quarter. Netflix earned $32-million, or 52 cents per share, compared with income of $7.7-million, or 13 cents per share, at the same time last year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 48 cents per share.

Revenue rose 22 per cent from last year to $1.1-billion to match analyst projections and its stock jumped $29.46 or 8.3 per cent to US$384.45.

The DuPont Co. posted net income of $285-million, or 30 cents per share Tuesday, on revenue of $7.8-billion. Operating earnings at the chemical company totalled 45 cents per share, up from 43 cents per share in last year’s third quarter, and easily topping the 41 cents that Wall Street was looking for, according to a FactSet poll and its shares slipped 13 cents to $59.33.

In Canada, traders will take in earnings after the close from Canadian National Railways (TSX:CNR). Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) reports on Wednesday and both are expected to show rising revenues from greater shipments of crude oil. CN was ahead a dime to $110 and CP dipped eight cents to $134.16.

Absolute Software Corp. (TSX:ABT) is raising its quarterly dividend to six cents per share, a 20 per cent increase, starting with the next payout to shareholders in November. The company provides software for tracking and managing computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Its shares were up four cents to $7.53.

In other corporate news, a U.S. regulatory filing says Saks Inc. has agreed in principle to settle suits filed by some of its shareholders, who objected to the U.S. retailer’s agreement to a US$2.9-billion friendly takeover by Hudson’s Bay Co. (TSX:HBC). Saks has agreed to make additional disclosures to shareholders before the shareholder vote and HBC has agreed to accept less time for matching a rival offer and a smaller termination fee if the original deal doesn’t close as expected. Hudson’s Bay shares gained five cents to $18.50.

European bourses were positive as London’s FTSE 100 index gained 0.5 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX advanced 0.74 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was ahead 0.35 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average closed up 0.1 per cent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 per cent, Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.5 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.8 per cent.

 
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