TSX Ends Higher On Global Cues -- Canadian Commentary

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks snapped a two-day loss to end higher on Tuesday, tracking rising U.S. and European equity markets, driven by some strong buying in the energy space with crude oil prices on the up.

With the ongoing friction in Ukraine and the U.S. sanctioning some top Russian officials and companies, raised prospects of oil supply disruption from Russia. Some fairly upbeat earnings news from the U.S. and Canada, and strength in European markets are also contributed to the gains.

Nonetheless, investors still await the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meet that ends on Wednesday. It is widely expected that the Fed will announce another $10 billion reduction in the pace of its asset purchases, even as investors look for signs regarding interest rates.

In economic news, consumer confidence in the U.S. deteriorated modestly in April, reflecting a less favorable assessment of current business and labor market conditions, a Conference Board report showed Tuesday. Nonetheless, the reading for March was revised to its highest level since 2998. Meanwhile, home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas for February rose in line with estimates, a report from Standard & Poor's showed.

Eurozone economic sentiment dropped unexpectedly in April from a 32-month high as the crisis in Ukraine weighed on confidence in services and construction.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Tuesday at 14,583.11, up 52.20 points or 0.36 percent. The index scaled an intraday high of 14,613.03 and a low of 14,520.22.

Crude oil ended higher over lingering concerns over escalating tensions in Ukraine and worries of possible supply disruptions from Russia.

The Energy Index jumped 1.63 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for June delivery, gaining $0.44 or 0.4 percent to close at $102.84 a barrel Tuesday on the Nymex.

Among energy stocks, Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) added2.47 percent. Husky Energy Inc. (HSE.TO) moved up 1.24 percent and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ.TO) edged up 0.20 percent.

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) is up 3.05 percent, after reporting first quarter operating earnings of C$1.793 billion or C$1.22 per common share, up from C$1.367 billion or C$0.90 per common share last year.

The Capped Healthcare Index dropped 0.37 percent with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX.TO) down 0.88 percent and Catamaran Corp. (CCT.TO) slipped 0.80 percent.

Gold futures ended lower ahead of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meet beginning Tuesday.

The Global Gold Index gained 0.99 percent, with gold futures for June delivery, dropping $2.70 or 0.2 percent to close at $1,296.30 an ounce Monday on the Nymex.

Among gold stocks, Barrick Gold Corp. added 1.20 percent, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (AEM.TO) gained 2.10 percent, Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) gathered 2.08 percent, Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) added 0.89 percent, and B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO) moved up 2.55 percent.

Oceana Gold Corp. (OGC.TO) surged 12.40 percent, lifted by its record first quarter earnings. The company reported a net profit of $58.9 million for the quarter, as against a net loss of $28.16 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

The Capped Materials Index gathered 0.79 percent, with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) down 0.91 percent.

The Financial Index gained 0.27 percent with the Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) up 0.52 percent, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) up 0.36 percent, and The Bank of Nova Scotia ( BNS ) added 0.46 percent.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) slipped 1.16 percent.

The Diversified Metals & Mining Index added 1.13 percent, with Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) up 2.37 percent, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) up 1.77 percent, and Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) added 1.40 percent.

The Information Technology Index edged up 0.08 percent, with BlackBerry Limited (BB.TO) up 1.09 percent.

Among other technology stocks, Constellation Software Inc. (CSU.TO) down 1.93 percent and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) down 0.81 percent. Avigilon Corp. (AVO.TO) jumped 4.75 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index dropped 0.95 percent, with Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) up 1.21 percent, and Air Canada (AC.B) jumping 4.86 percent.

In corporate news, Firstservice Corp (FSV.TO) gained 2.76 percent after reporting adjusted earnings of $0.09 per share in the first quarter, compared to a loss of $0.20 in the prior year quarter.

TransAlta Corp (TA.TO) added 1.76 percent after reporting that its first quarter comparable earnings before tax rose to $310 million, up $42 million from the same period last year.

Ballard Power Systems Inc. (BLD.TO) plummeted 9.80 percent after its results fell short of expectations.

Cameco Corp. (CCO.TO) slipped 3.56 percent despite reporting a 29 percent rise in adjusted earnings at $0.09 per share in the first quarter.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada said average weekly earnings of Canadian non-farm payroll employees came in at $925 in February, little changed from $922 the previous month. Weekly earnings were up 2.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

In economic news from the U.S., home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas rose in line with economist estimates in the month of February, according to a report released by Standard & Poor's. The report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in February. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the Index came in unchanged in February after edging down by 0.1 percent in January.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index dipped to 82.3 in April, from an upwardly revised 83.9 in March, reflecting a less favorable assessment of current business and labor market conditions.

Eurozone economic confidence in April dropped to 102 from 102.5 in March, a survey from the European Commission revealed Tuesday. The score was forecast to rise to 102.9 in April from March's originally estimated value of 102.4.

German consumer confidence is set to remain unchanged at a 7-year high in May, a survey by market research group GfK showed Tuesday. The forward-looking consumer confidence index came in at 8.5 in May, the same as seen in April and March. The score was the strongest since January 2007 and in line with economists' expectations.

From Europe, the U.K. economy grew at a faster pace in the first quarter on a broad based recovery across major sectors, overcoming the impact of flooding and wet weather. U.K.'s gross domestic product advanced 0.8 percent from the fourth quarter, when it grew 0.7 percent, preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday. Economists, however, had forecast the GDP to rise 0.9 percent.

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