TSX Hits Record Intra-Day Highs, Closes Up Near 70 Pts Ahead of Long Weekend in North America; Athabasca Oil, Ivanhoe Energy, Bombardier In The News


Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, hit a new intra-day record high of 15,632.58 Friday afternoon before closing off that - but still up near 70 points at 15625.73. It was boosted by news that economic growth here rebounded to the fastest in almost three years in the second quarter. Although the Canadian dollar was closing lower Friday, it did hit month highs on the news that seemed to make many investors feel like buying ahead of a long holiday weekend in North America, with markets in Canada and the U.S. closed Monday.

Among sectors, Energy drove gains on the prospect of increased demand for fuel and gas with North American economies strengthening. However, gains were capped in afternoon trading, probably because some investors remain wary over tensions between Russia and Ukraine. According to BNN TV, volumes were down 4% on normal, but the market was up 0.5% on the week. It said Energy accounted for about 30 of the points gained.

Of commodities, gold prices edged lower on Friday, but was on track to end August with a small gain.

West Texas Intermediate crude had its first weekly gain in more than a month amid expectations that an improving U.S. economy will lead to increased fuel demand. Palladium futures hit near 13 year highs on supply concerns stemming from sanctions against Russia.

Athabasca Oil (ATH.TO) and Ivanhoe Energy Inc. (IE.TO, IVAN) and Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) were in the news. Indeed, Bombardier was the most active stock on the TSX Friday, falling 3% on reports that a Swedish company is delaying delivery of Bombardier's new CSeries jets. Braathens agreed in 2011 to order 10 of the jets in a deal valued at $665 million. The delay could push the jet's launch service date to late in 2015, analysts said.

Athabasca Oil said Friday that it has closed the sale of its 40% interest in the Dover oil sands project to Phoenix Energy Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of PetroChina International Investment Limited, for net proceeds of $1.184 billion. At closing, Athabasca received a cash payment of $600 million, in addition to three interest bearing promissory notes issued by Phoenix for the remaining $584 million.

Athabasca's shares were under pressure on concerns the proceeds of the sale had been held up amid uncertainty surrounding a broad corruption purge in China that had ensnared some executives tied to the state-owned company's Canadian operations, the Globe & Mail reported. ATH came off a trading halt to gain more than 4%.

Ivanhoe Energy said Friday it is not aware of any specific factors, other than information previously disclosed in its public filings, news releases or statements, which would result in the levels of trading activity and change in the share price recorded today. At 13.54pm ET the stock was up 104% at $3.27 on the TSX. It closed up 55% at $2.49. In its most recent announcement August 27, Ivanhoe confirmed its intention to fully participate in a new services contract presently under discussion for the development of the Block 20 oilfield development project in Ecuador.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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