(In an earlier story it was incorrectly stated that today's U.S.
durable goods data had come in better than expected. Durable goods,
of course, plunged in January. But purchases of new homes surged in
January and that has buoyed North American markets. A corrected
version of the story follows.)
Canadian stocks have overcome and up and down early period and
are now firming, up close to 80 points, led by oil and gas stocks
and buoyed by the release of better than expected home sales data
in the United States, which is Canada's main trading partner. There
has been a fair amount of positive data out of the U.S. of late,
giving hope its economic recovery is happening.
Most industry sectors are higher, including 1.5% advances for
both healthcare and telecom stocks. Shares of energy companies also
are rebounding, climbing about 1.4% as a group. Mining stocks are
barely higher, with shares of gold mining firms taking their lumps
as investors again look to riskier assets following several days of
gains following confusing results from Italian parliamentary
elections last weekend.
But there was negative news from an investment perspective.
Statistics Canada today said public and private capital spending is
expected to grow just 1.7% from year ago levels to $398.2 bln
during 2013, the smallest increase since the economic downturn in
2009. The primary contributor to the slowdown is an anticipated
decline in investment reported by the mining and oil and gas
extraction sector. Declines are also anticipated in the information
and cultural industries as well as in educational services, the
statistic agency said, based on interviews and published data.
Public sector capital investment is seen rising 5% over 2012
levels to $88 bln, the second annual increase in a row. Private
sector investment is projected for a 0.8% rise to $310.2 bln.
In company news, TransAlta Corp. (TA.TO,TAC) is down about 2%
after reporting adjusted Q4 net income of C$0.21 per share, up from
C$0.13 per share in the year-ago quarter but missing analyst
forecasts looking for a C$0.28 profit. Revenue slipped 5.7% to
C$661 mln, beating Street consensus by about C$53 mln.
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