Canada Stocks Bank 90 Pts In Gains; National Bank Result Awaited
An impressive showing over the second half of the session saw Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, close up nearly 90 points at day highs Thursday on bullish sentiment following the release of better than expected results and increased dividends from Royal Bank (RY.TO) and TD Bank (TD.TO), which rose 0.9% and 0.7% respectively.
A third bank CIBC (CM.TO) also beat forecasts but didn't increase its dividend, and it fell 0.9%. The market now awaits the release of numbers from National Bank (NA.TO) after the market closes today. The forecast is for average earnings of $2.01 versus $2 a year earlier.
Sentiment was probably also buoyed by the fact that we are near record highs for the Dow and the S&P 500 in the United States, pointers that the wheels of industry are starting to churn there again. Today, data showed the U.S. economy grew slightly in the fourth quarter, reversing an earlier estimate showing contraction. Also, new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week.
MarketWatch reported: "Crude oil futures fell Thursday, weighed by strength in the U.S. dollar, but the loss was somewhat limited by mostly upbeat U.S. economic data that supported a positive outlook for energy demand." It said: "Oil for April delivery fell 71 cents, or 0.8%, to $92.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the month, prices fell 5.6% from the March contract settlement on Jan. 31. Tracking front-month contracts, oil prices logged their first monthly loss in four."
It also reported: "Gold futures finished lower Thursday, logging a loss for February -- the fifth straight month of declines -- pressured by mostly upbeat U.S economic data and strength in the dollar." It said: "April gold settled at $1,578.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $17.60, or 1.1%. Tracking most-active contracts, prices were down about 5% for the month. They've now posted monthly declines each month since October."