CANADA STOCKS-Financials boost TSX as Fed meeting comes into focus

Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:50pm EDT
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* TSX rises 21.14 points, or 0.17 percent, to 12,669.04
    * Seven of 10 main sectors advance
    * HBC jumps about 6 percent after Saks deal
    * Gold miners slip with price of bullion

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, July 29 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
on Monday after strength in the financial sector offset declines
in shares of natural resource companies, while investors were
fixated on the U.S. Federal Reserve's plans for its stimulus
    The market also paid attention to a jump in shares of
Hudson's Bay Co, which is not a member of the Toronto
Stock Exchange's flagship S&P/TSX composite index,
after the retailer said it planned to buy Saks Inc. 
    Toronto stocks firmed after losses in the previous four
sessions. Commodity prices were choppy, further weighing on the
    Fed officials this week are likely to have a lively debate
on how best to prepare financial markets for a reduction of
their bond-buying program, but appear certain to wait for
further economic data before curtailing the stimulus.
    "Investors will read through the Fed's statement with a
fine-toothed comb," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice
president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver. "Even
modest changes in phraseology could spark some market action,
one way or the other.
    "The risk here is not a massive rally but a minor selloff as
people come to terms with what the Fed intends to do over the
next few months."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 21.14 points, or 0.17 percent, at 12,669.04.
    HBC shares climbed 5.8 percent to C$17.45 after the company
said it would acquire Saks in a $2.4 billion deal that would add
prime real estate to its portfolio and bring the luxury chain to
    The move follows a slew of deals in the Canadian retail
sector, including Loblaw Cos Ltd's C$12.4 billion
agreement to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp.
    "Many Canadian companies have looked after their money
management very well, have preserved some cash and are in a mood
of wanting to expand," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity
trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
    "Sometimes you have to be aggressive to increase your
competitive balance, and that's what the Bay is trying to do,"
he added.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained
0.4 percent, with Toronto Dominion Bank adding 0.6
percent to C$88.89.
    Shares of energy producers gave back 0.5 percent. 
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd lost 0.7 percent to
C$31.97, and Encana Corp fell 2.5 percent to C$18.05.
    Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd lost about a
fifth of their value after Rio Tinto put on hold a
more-than $5 billion underground expansion of the giant Oyu
Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia. Oyu Tolgoi is 66 percent owned
by Rio Tinto's Turquoise Hill. 
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, stumbled
0.1 percent. Gold miners were down 0.8 percent.
    Barrick Gold Corp slipped 1 percent to C$18.09 and
Goldcorp Inc fell 0.2 percent to C$29.41.