Toronto stocks could rise after mixed GDP data

Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:07am EDT
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TORONTO, April 30 (Reuters) - The outlook for the Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was gray on Wednesday, but it could get a bounce as U.S. economic growth came in stronger than expected and commodity prices edged higher.

However, Canadian economic growth dipped in February, and corporations including Talisman Energy TLM.TO and Loblaw L.TO delivered mixed results, putting some downward pressure on the Canadian benchmark index following its 260-point drop in the previous session.

Later in the day, the TSX and other North American markets will likely take their cue from the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates. The Fed is expected to pare its rate by 25 basis points.

A build-up of inventory in the United States, Canada's biggest trading partner, helped U.S. gross domestic product expand at a 0.6-percent annual rate in the first quarter. For details, see: [N29322975]

In Canada, GDP fell by 0.2 percent last month, which could be taken as a bad omen for Toronto-listed stocks, said Gavin Graham, chief investment officer at Guardian Group of Funds.

"The weakness in Canada reflects the slowdown in the United States, and it's particularly noticeable in central Canada's manufacturing industry," he said.

Adding to the mixed picture, commodities -- a key gauge for the resource-heavy TSX -- were mostly higher, with U.S. crude oil futures up about 50 cents at more than $116 a barrel.

Talisman, Canada's No. 3 independent oil exploration company, reported a 76-percent jump in operating profit due mostly to the recent rise in oil. For details, see: [N30421344]

Quarterly profit at Loblaw, the country's biggest grocer, missed expectations as lower price tags weighed on its bottom line. See: [N30421815]   Continued...