March 25, 2011 / 12:44 PM / 7 years ago

TSX shrugs off election, but RIM dents gains

<p>A general view of the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index shrugged off the fall of Canada’s Conservative government on Friday and nudged higher as stronger resource shares offset a plunge by Research In Motion RIM.TO.

RIM tumbled more than 10 percent to C$55.78 after the BlackBerry maker warned that heavy spending on its PlayBook tablet launch would drag on earnings.

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. One only has to look at how much competition is now out there and how popular the non-RIM products are,” said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

“The (Apple (AAPL.O)) iPhone and the (Google (GOOG.O)) Android are just phenomenally popular and it doesn’t take a lot of research to figure out that market share for RIM is going to be forever impacted, unless they come out with fantastic new products to catch up.”

Schwartz said the political drama in Ottawa on Friday had no impact on money managers’ near-term views.

“There is no impact whatsoever on anybody’s thinking here. It’s a complete sideshow and waste of time.”

Opposition parties brought down the minority Conservative government in a nonconfidence vote, setting the scene for an early May election that polls indicate the Conservatives will likely win.

“The market is really anticipating the status quo,” said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Van Arbor Asset Management in Vancouver.

Zohny said the only real surprise would be a Liberal-New Democratic Party coalition government after the election. “That would definitely be negative on the energy sector,” he added, noting possible changes in regulation and taxation.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 10.02 points, or 0.07 percent, at 14,039.39 after rallying as high as 14,130.41 earlier in the session.

Seven of the index’s 10 main sectors were stronger. Heavyweight miners however declined, tracking gold and base metal prices lower. GOL <MET/L> The index ended the week 1.8 percent higher.

The energy sector was the lead gainer on Friday, up 0.8 percent, despite a dip by oil, as prices remained above $105 a barrel and bargain hunters rushed in to buy beaten-down shares following a recent decline.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose 0.9 percent to C$44.12 and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) advanced 2 percent to C$37.69

Fertilizer producers helped lift the materials sector, which rose 0.3 percent. Potash Corp (POT.TO) jumped nearly 3 percent to C$56.12 after Chicago Board of Trade corn futures rose on news of a large sale of U.S. corn that was likely bound for China. Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) also rose, climbing 0.9 percent to C$87.77.

Zohny said investors likely cut risks as the weekend neared due to continued worries over euro zone sovereign debt and Middle East turmoil, as well as the nuclear crisis in Japan.

“The market is really kind of positioning ahead of next month’s earnings season,” he added.

“I think there’s a greater degree of uncertainty in the market now with regard to commodity prices’ effect on earnings, as well as some geopolitical concerns, so uncertainty may cap the rally in the near term but longer term it seems like fundamentals will continue to improve.”

Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson

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