The Toronto stock market closed little changed Monday as resource stocks failed to benefit from strong Chinese manufacturing data while BlackBerry shares finished flat following a move to take the company private.
The S&P/TSX composite index edged up 4.73 points to 12,811.2.
BlackBerry has signed a letter of intent with a consortium led by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial , that involves shareholders getting $9 (U.S.) a share. The Waterloo, Ont.,-based company’s shares were unchanged from Friday at $9.08 as some analysts were clearly unimpressed by the offer. On the Nasdaq, the shares rose 9.5 cents to $8.82 (U.S.)
“This deal is an excellent example of another great Canadian takeunder, as opposed to takeover,” observed Chris King, portfolio manager at Morgan, Meighen and Associates.
“If one were to take a cash per share value, a reasonable range of value for intellectual property, and that there is value in the BBM, and co-location of exchange servers in major companies, the offer value seems to be low. The deal is structured to allow for competing bids, so hopefully a strategic purchaser might emerge.”
Word of the proposed sale came as BlackBerry stock sunk as much as seven per cent in the morning, on top of a 16 per cent plunge Friday after the company warned of a huge second-quarter loss of almost $1-billion amid plunging sales of its new smartphones. It’s also slashing about 4,500 jobs.
BlackBerry releases its quarterly results Friday.
It was a much different story at Apple. Its stock rose almost five per cent to $490.64 (U.S.) after it said shoppers had snapped up nine million of the newest iPhones since the devices rolled out Friday.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.13 of a cent to 97.23 cents US.
The potential for a budget fight in Washington pushed American markets lower.
The Dow Jones industrials was down 49.71 points to 15,401.38 while the Nasdaq declined 9.44 points to 3,765.29 and the S&P 500 index slipped 8.07 points to 1,701.84.
With no indications of an early reduction in quantitative easing, investors are now turning their focus to the possibility of a government shutdown amid negotiations to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that concerns over the latest fiscal showdown was a factor in the U.S. central bank’s decision to maintain its asset purchase program. The Fed surprised markets by not announcing that it would start tapering its monthly US$85-billion of bond purchases.
The TSX telecom sector was up 1.16 per cent on news that Telus, Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications and Quebecor’s Videotron were among the prominent telecom companies that have put down a deposit to take part in Canada’s wireless spectrum auction next January. Industry Canada says that a total of 15 participants have put down the deposit for the auction, all of them domestic. Telus led the pack, up 86 cents to $35.44.
Commodity prices were lower despite signs that the world’s second-biggest economy is gradually recovering from a prolonged slowdown.
The preliminary version of HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index for China climbed to a six-month high of 51.2 from 50.1 in August on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 indicate an expansion in activity.
November crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.16 to $103.59 (U.S.) a barrel. Prices fell almost four per cent last week amid dealmaking aimed at eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons and the energy sector edged up 0.08 per cent. Suncor Energy improved by 28 cents to $37.17 (Canadian).
The gold sector was down almost two per cent while December bullion declined $5.50 to $1,327 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. faded 71 cents to $26.25 (Canadian).
The base metals sector slipped one per cent as December copper lost two cents to $3.30 (U.S.) a pound. HudBay Minerals gave back 25 cents to $8.36 (Canadian).
Elsewhere on the corporate front, Calgary-based fertilizer producer Agrium Inc. said its third-quarter results will be negatively affected by soft prices and lower sales volumes in its wholesale operations. It says wholesale earnings before interest and tax will be about $200-million lower than in the same period last year.
Agrium also said it will increase its annual dividend 50 per cent to US$3 a share per share, but its stock fell $4.01 to $89.49.