Canada Stocks Close Lower; Most Sectors Down; Blackberry, CIBC In The News

Canada stocks closed lower on Friday, down 74 pts. Most sectors were lower, driven down by Metals and Mining, but Healthcare bucked the trend.

Two heavyweights - Blackberry (BB.TO, BBRY) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO, CM) - were very much in the news.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Friday, with the June 2014 WTI contract closing up US$0.52 per barrel at US$102.02. Gold prices eased closing the Friday session at US$1,292.4 down $US 1.2 per ounce.

CIBC (CM.TO, CM), shy of 52 week highs, Thursday recorded a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of C$420 million after-tax relating to its investment in CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited for the second quarter ending April 30, 2014. It said: "In light of persistently challenging economic conditions in many Caribbean countries and our current expectations for conditions going forward, we have reduced the carrying value of the goodwill related to CIBC FirstCaribbean. The goodwill impairment charge is a non-cash item and does not affect ongoing operations or capital ratios." In addition to the goodwill impairment charge, CIBC also recorded C$123 million after-tax of incremental loan losses for CIBC FirstCaribbean, reflecting revised expectations on the extent and timing of the anticipated economic recovery in the Caribbean region.

Blackberry reportedly found a buyer in Point72 Asset Management, but had sellers in Third Point and Fairfax Financial (FFH.TO). It also lost a director.

Point72 Asset Management, the hedge-fund firm founded by billionaire Steven

A. Cohen, has taken new stakes in BlackBerry, according to a regulatory filing, a Wall Street Journal Blog said late Thursday afternoon. The blog said Point72 purchased 11.2 million shares of BlackBerry. It added the firm is betting on a successful turnaround of BlackBerry, which has seen its share of the global smartphone market tumble in recent years.

Meanwhile, activist fund manager Dan Loeb's Third Point cut its stake in BlackBerry, selling 10 million shares, according to a filing that came out late Thursday. This came just hours after news that Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial had sold 5.2 million shares.

In related news, director Bert Nordberg won't stand for re-election just a year after he was added to the board. According to Bloomberg, this leaves Blackberry with six board members.

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

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