An impressive showing over the second half of the session saw
Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, close up
nearly 90 points at day highs Thursday on bullish sentiment
following the release of better than expected results and increased
dividends from Royal Bank (RY.TO) and TD Bank (TD.TO), which rose
0.9% and 0.7% respectively.
A third bank CIBC (CM.TO) also beat forecasts but didn't
increase its dividend, and it fell 0.9%. The market now awaits the
release of numbers from National Bank (NA.TO) after the market
closes today. The forecast is for average earnings of $2.01 versus
$2 a year earlier.
Sentiment was probably also buoyed by the fact that we are near
record highs for the Dow and the S&P 500 in the United States,
pointers that the wheels of industry are starting to churn there
again. Today, data showed the U.S. economy grew slightly in the
fourth quarter, reversing an earlier estimate showing contraction.
Also, new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week.
MarketWatch reported: "Crude oil futures fell Thursday, weighed
by strength in the U.S. dollar, but the loss was somewhat limited
by mostly upbeat U.S. economic data that supported a positive
outlook for energy demand." It said: "Oil for April delivery fell
71 cents, or 0.8%, to $92.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile
Exchange. For the month, prices fell 5.6% from the March contract
settlement on Jan. 31. Tracking front-month contracts, oil prices
logged their first monthly loss in four."
It also reported: "Gold futures finished lower Thursday, logging
a loss for February -- the fifth straight month of declines --
pressured by mostly upbeat U.S economic data and strength in the
dollar." It said: "April gold settled at $1,578.10 an ounce on the
Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $17.60, or
1.1%. Tracking most-active contracts, prices were down about 5% for
the month. They've now posted monthly declines each month since
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