April 17, 2009 / 12:26 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Weaker oil, RBC charge to weigh at open

TORONTO, April 17 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock market index looked set to open little changed to weaker on Friday as unexpectedly firm results from General Electric (GE.N) and Citigroup (C.N) are offset by weaker oil and bad news from Canada’s largest bank.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s largest lender, said on Thursday it will take a charge of roughly $850 million (C$1.03 billion) because the value of its international businesses has declined, reducing second-quarter earnings by an equivalent amount. [nN16291534]

Canadian data will also be eyed after Statistics Canada said the country’s annual inflation rate slowed to 1.2 percent in March from 1.4 percent in February on falling gasoline and car prices, but the core rate closely watched by the central bank unexpectedly rose to 2 percent. [nN17500487]

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 1.1 percent to 9,343.37 on Thursday in a broad rally led by the financial and energy groups as quarterly financial results helped reassure investors. [nN16255809]

Here is some of the news that may affect the index:

CITIGROUP POSTS LOSS, DELAYS EXCHANGE OFFER

Citigroup posted a first-quarter loss on Friday, reflecting a large amount of credit losses and the accounting for preferred stock. [nN17310824]

GE PROFIT TOPS FORECAST, ENERGY IS KEY LIFT

General Electric reported a 36 percent drop in quarterly profit, but topped Wall Street’s expectations on the back of its large energy operation, which makes electricity-producing turbines. [nN17446745]

OIL DIPS BELOW $50, EQUITIES LEND MODEST SUPPORT

Oil prices fell below $50 a barrel on Friday as traders focused on brimming crude inventories, although equities markets provided a modicum of support. [nSIN431763]

GOLD EASES AS DOLLAR FIRMS, STOCKS TICK UP

Gold fell on Friday, extending the previous session’s near 2 percent losses, as the dollar rose to a one-month high against the euro and stock markets firmed, denting the metal’s appeal as an alternative investment. [nLH349090]

OIL SANDS DEVELOPER UTS REJECTS LATEST TOTAL OFFER

UTS Energy Corp UTS.TO formally rejected a sweetened C$830 million offer from French oil major Total SA (TOTF.PA) on Thursday, saying the bid was still too low and it was looking at other ways to boost its shares. [nN16286412]

MANULIFE TO ADOPT ADVISORY VOTE ON EXECUTIVE PAY

Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) said on Thursday it plans to accept a shareholder vote next year on how much it should pay top executives, following the lead of other top banks and corporations. [nN16333703]

IMPERIAL NOW SEES KEARL DECISION BEFORE MID-YEAR

Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO) is still keen on its C$8 billion Kearl oil sands project in Alberta despite having missed a target for making a go-ahead decision, the company said on Thursday. [nN16280653] ($1=$1.21 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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