The Toronto stock market moved higher Monday amid mixed economic news out of Asia and rising commodities.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 53.29 points to 13,334.01 as investors bought up battered gold stocks and bank shares that slipped last week in the wake of earnings reports from the big banks.
The Canadian dollar slipped 0.06 of a cent to 93.78 cents US.
U.S. indexes were positive following a strong slate of economic data last week including strong manufacturing and housing reports, better than expected third-quarter economic growth and improving consumer confidence. The week was capped off by U.S. data showing strong job growth last month.
The Dow Jones industrials were 10.31 points higher to 16,030.51, the Nasdaq gained 15.8 points to 4,078.32 and the S&P 500 index was up 3.48 points to 1,808.57.
While the data were a welcome sign that the American economic revival remains on track, it also raised concerns that the Federal Reserve is set to start winding up its asset buying program sooner than thought, perhaps as early as next week when Fed members meet.
Speculation about tapering those US$85 billion of bond purchases has weighed on markets as the stimulus has kept long term rates low and supported a strong rally on equity markets this year.
The gold sector ran ahead 1.55 per cent while February gold in New York added $4.50 to US$1,233.50 an ounce. Goldcorp (TSX:G) advanced 27 cents to C$22.71.
The financials sector was ahead 0.7 per cent, clawing back some of last week’s 1.6 per cent decline. Royal Bank (TSX:RY) gained 85 cents to $69.90.
The energy sector was ahead 0.22 per cent with oil prices slightly higher, adding to a string of gains last week amid figures showing bigger than expected drawdowns in U.S. inventories. The January crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged 19 cents higher to US$97.84 a barrel.
Equal Energy Ltd. (TSX:EQU) says it’s entered into a definitive agreement to be bought up by Petroflow Energy Corporation and Petroflow Canada Acquisition Corp. for $5.43 a share. Equal says the total transaction value is approximately US$230 million. Equal shares dipped one cent to $5.73.
The base metals component was slightly lower with March copper up a penny at US$3.25 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) climbed 28 cents to C$25.28.
Meanwhile, there was little reaction to data showing that China has posted its biggest trade surplus in almost five years, rising to US$33.8 billion from $31.1 billion the month before. Exports ran ahead 12.7 per cent from November last year, well ahead of October’s 5.6 per cent growth.
But imports grew only by 5.3 per cent year-over-year amid tepid domestic demand.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan slashed its estimate of economic growth for the July-September quarter. The world’s third-largest economy grew an annualized 1.1 per cent last quarter, less than half the pace of the previous quarter amid weaker than expected corporate investment. The initial estimate had put growth at 1.9 per cent.
On the corporate front, food service distributor Sysco is buying rival US Foods for about US$3.5 billion in a cash and stock deal. It will also assume or refinance about $4.7 billion in debt, putting the total value of the deal at about $8.2 billion dollars. When the acquisition closes, Sysco will have annual sales of about $65 billion dollars. Sysco shares surged $6.44 or 18.77 per cent to US$40.75.
Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) says Steve Reynish, currently the executive vice-president of oil sands ventures, will act as interim chief financial officer as the company continues to search for a permanent replacement for the position. Bart Demonsky announced in late November that he was resigning as CFO from Suncor so he could move to railway giant Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP).
European bourses were mixed with London’s FTSE 100 index off 0.06 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.39 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 slipped 0.23 per cent.
Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 2.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.3 per cent and benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 bucked the trend and dropped 0.8 per cent.