Canada Stocks Closes Down 15 Pts With Focus On U.S. Budget Talks; Uranium One Bucks The Trend

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Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, closed down around 15 points Monday, reflecting investor and trader impatience for the White House and Republicans to agree on the U.S. budget, and avert a so-called 'fiscal cliff' crisis.

But it could have been a lot worse as the index was around 60 points late morning. It nearly made it all the way back to parity early afternoon. Indeed, even after it fell from there, it still finished the day with some upward momentum, which signals that there could well be buyers waiting on the sidelines to produce a stock rally if and when there is good news on budget talks in the U.S., Canada's main trading partner.

Three companies that were in the news today were among the biggest losers, they being Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM.TO), Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO).

Bucking the trend was Uranium One (UUU.TO), which was again the most active stock today and has been among the most active for about a week despite no apparent stock specific news. It gained 4.5%.

RIM, which had enjoyed a good run up in recent weeks and particularly in November, lost 1.5% today as Bloomberg reported BlackBerry 10, the new smartphone lineup intended to revive RIM's fortunes, is about to be tested at more than 120 U.S. companies, including 64 members of the Fortune 500.

Sun Life closed down 4% on news it has signed a definitive agreement whereby Delaware Life Holdings - connected to Guggenheim Partners - will purchase Sun Life's domestic U.S. annuity business and certain life insurance businesses for a base purchase price of US$1.35 billion. The transaction is expected to close by the end of second quarter 2013 subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. "The financial implications are more negative than we had assumed both in terms of the book value decline and the ongoing earnings impairment," CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Sedran wrote in a research note, Reuters reported.

Inmet Mining responded to a news release issued yesterday by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) announcing its intention to make an unsolicited takeover offer for Inmet worth $5.18 billion. Inmet, which gained 5% Friday, was up nearly 4.5% more on the TSX today, although off a 52 week high hit earlier. FM was down 4%.

Crude oil futures settled higher Monday, gaining from ongoing tensions in the Middle East as well as from some optimism that Washington will reach a budget deal before a year-end deadline, MarketWatch reported. Crude for January delivery rose 0.5% to US$87.20 a barrel, though it closed off stronger levels.

Gold prices edged higher Monday, finding support following a downbeat report about manufacturing activity, MarketWatch reported. But the precious metal wasn't able to claim the widely watched level of US$1,700 an ounce. Gold for February delivery rose $1.20 to settle at $1,698.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.



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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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