Canadian stocks are now around a dozen points higher today, with
the S&P/TSX Composite Index having reversed a 15-point decline
soon after the open and then gone more than 20 points higher late
morning before running out of some puff.
Gold miners again are limiting any advance for the broader
market, falling nearly 1% as a group, although they were down more
than 2%. This follows an $18 slide for bullion to around $1,581 an
ounce in New York commodities trade. Silver and copper also are
lower today, with copper sliding over 1% after factory data from
the United States and China showed stuttering growth in the top two
markets for the industrial metal.
Overall, the market has a defensive tone, with the best gains
among utility and consumer staple stocks although shares of energy
and financial companies are now at their best levels of the day as
the broader market turned positive.
In economic news, the March RBC Canadian Manufacturing
Purchasing Managers' Index signalled the first deterioration in
manufacturing business conditions throughout Canada since data
collection began in October 2010. The factory gauge found declines
last month for both output and new orders, with the overall reading
falling from a 51.7 score in February to a 49.3 reading for March -
sliding below the 50.0 mark separating growth from contraction.
In individual company news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO,VRX)
is down slightly at near $77 - but still near a year high $77.66 -
after German drug-maker Merz Pharma Group this morning out-bid it
for Obagi Medical Products Inc. (
), offering $22 a share for the cosmetics and skin-care company.
The Merz offer totals about $383.5 mln. VRX and OMPI three weeks
ago agreed on a buy-out at $19.75 a share, or about $342 mln
Also today, TransCanada Corp. (TRP.TO,TRP) is up about 0.6% and
closer to year highs after saying it will seek commitments from
shippers interested in capacity on a pipeline-conversion project
that will take oil from Western Canada to eastern Canadian refining
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