The Toronto stock market ended higher Monday as the gold and materials sectors gained traction and shares of BlackBerry rose nearly 11 per cent on news that the smartphone maker has launched a strategic alternatives plan.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 52.14 points to 12,594.27. The Canadian dollar was off 0.08 of a cent to 97.06.
Shares of BlackBerry (TSX:BB) rose $1.08 to $11.13 as the struggling Waterloo, Ont.-based company said it’s weighing its options and has brought in a committee to assess strategic alternatives, which could include its sale or entering into a joint venture. The stock hit an intraday peak of $11.25, which is still well below its 52-week high of $18.49.
BlackBerry’s strategic review will be headed by Timothy Dattels, who joined BlackBerry’s board last year and is a senior partner at TPG Capital, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.
Meanwhile, the gold sector on the TSX was the top advancer, rising 5.35 per cent, as gold prices continued to climb on gains from last week. The December bullion contract rose $22 to $1,334.20 (U.S.) an ounce.
The materials sector also saw a notable lift, rising 4.23 per cent. Metals and mining was up 2.53 per cent, as September copper was up three cents at $3.30 (U.S.) a pound. The energy sector slid 0.42 per cent as the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange saw an uptick of 14 cents to $106.11 a barrel.
South of the border, U.S. indexes were mixed as the Dow Jones industrials fell 5.83 points to 15,419.68 and the S&P 500 index was 1.95 points lower at 1,689.47. The Nasdaq climbed 9.84 points to 3,669.95, boosted by a rise in Apple Inc. shares after a blog reported the tech company will release its latest iPhone in September.
The U.S. Treasury Department reported that it registered a $97.6-billion deficit for July but said it still remains on track to post its lowest annual budget gap in five years.
July’s figure raises the deficit for the 2013 budget year to $607.4-billion so far – 37.6 per cent below the $973.8-billion deficit for the first 10 months of the 2012 budget year.
The government said steady economic growth, higher taxes, lower government spending and increased dividends from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped shrink the deficit.
Craig Fehr, a Canadian market strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis, Mo., said the release of major economic news is winding down for the rest of the summer.
“We’re right in the middle of the dog days of summer,” said Fehr. “Everyone kind of returns from holidays in September to resharpen their pencils. As we look at the markets this week, and more importantly not just this week, volatility is likely to start picking back up.”
Fehr said investors will likely take a wait-and-see attitude to what will come in September, particularly if the Fed decides to move on tapering its $85-billion-a-month bond-buyback program.
“We have all these things coming in the fall that will likely capture the markets’ attention,” he said.
Investors are also anticipating the results of the latest U.S. retail sales figures for July, which will be released Tuesday.
How much people are spending can be a key indicator of how stable the economy has become and where it is headed in the near future. Consumers’ confidence is closely watched because their spending accounts for 70 per cent of economic growth in the U.S.
In other developments, rewards point operator Aimia Inc. (TSX:AIM) said it has selected TD Bank Group (TSX:TD) as the new primary credit card issuer for Aeroplan. The company says talks regarding a side deal with its longtime partner CIBC (TSX:CM) are ongoing.
Aimia shares gained more than four per cent to $15.93 while TD fell 25 cents to $86.41. CIBC was $1.56 higher to $78.47. Aimia is scheduled to release their latest earnings report later Monday.
Dollarama Inc. (TSX:DOL) says its chief operating officer is leaving the company to become president and CEO of a California-based discount retailer called 99-cents Only Stores. Chief operating officer Stephane Gonthier will remain with the Montreal-based company for a time to ensure a smooth transition. The company’s shares were down almost $1.84 to $75.99.