TSX advances higher, commodities up
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:43AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:57PM EDT
TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market racked up a solid gain late morning Tuesday, led by advances in energy stocks amid rising oil prices and a positive earnings report from Canadian Oil Sands (TSX:COS).
But volumes were lower than average in a relatively subdued session due to the closure of New York financial markets for a second day because of Superstorm Sandy.
The S&P/TSX composite index moved 63.82 points higher to 12,376.57 (TSX:COS). The TSX Venture Exchange dipped 0.6 of a point to 1,290.83.
Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, said traders around the world were taking a wait-and-see stance due to the closing of the U.S. markets -- which normally account for a huge portion of the volume.
"Speculating in these very thin markets probably isn't the smartest move at this point and I think you will get a lot of investors today that will just wait for a bit more liquidity tomorrow," Fehr said.
The NYSE said it intends to resume trading Wednesday, through its Arca electronic trading system if floor trading is not possible.
The superstorm has left a large swath of New York City without power and subways and vehicle tunnels have been flooded.
Originally, the NYSE had planned to close just its exchange floor and allow traders to buy and sell stock electronically. Then it decided to shut down electronic trading, too. The NYSE said it was worried about putting staff needed to help run the electronic trading in danger.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.15 of a cent to 100.07 cents US after closing below parity with the U.S. currency Monday for the first time since early August.
Analysts said it was particularly important for American trading to resume Wednesday, even for a shortened session, because of timing issues.
"Having some opening will be critical in that it will allow for month-end pricing, which will have an effect for everything from options pricing to statements to clients," Fehr said.
"You're talking about having month-end pricing, month-end settlements for mutual funds and the underlying securities, not to mention equities and bonds in portfolios around the world, all the way from institutional investors to retail investors."
Bond markets in the U.S. were also closed for a second session.
The CME Group also cancelled floor trading in New York and Chicago but commodity trading carried on electronically.
All TSX sectors were positive late morning with the energy sector ahead 0.8 per cent as December crude gained 57 cents to US$86.11 a barrel. At the same time, there were questions about where crude prices are headed given the effect on refineries from the storm. The biggest operations in the northeastern U.S. have shut down or cut back sharply, while the dampening effect of the storm on transportation and the operation of many businesses will sharply reduce demand.
Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (TSX:COS) posted net income of $338 million or 70 cents a share, beating estimates by 15 cents. The company, which owns a 37 per cent stake in the Syncrude Canada oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., increased its 2012 cash flow guidance by 20 per cent. Its shares gained 63 cents to $21.23.
Financials also provided lift as Royal Bank (TSX:RY) climbed 42 cents to $56.77.
The base metals component was up 0.3 per cent while metal prices advanced with December copper ahead one cent to US$3.51 a pound. Sherritt International (TSX:S) was up 11 cents to C$4.43.
The gold sector was also ahead about 0.3 per cent as December bullion rose $2.60 to US$1.711.3 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) ran ahead 43 cents to C$45.08.
In other earnings news, Talisman Energy Inc. (TSX:TLM) shares fell 22 cents to $11.83 as the international oil and gas producer reported a net loss of $731 million, largely as a result of asset writedowns in various parts of the world, including its shale operations in Quebec and its offshore operations in Norway. Talisman said it's determined to return to profitability after the loss, which was worse than analyst estimates, and will reduce capital spending in 2013 to the lowest level in several years.
TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) said its third-quarter profit was $369 million or 52 cents per share, down from $386 million or 55 cents per share in the same year-earlier period. Another measure of profitability, called comparable earnings, dropped more dramatically to $349 million or 50 cents per share from $416 million or 59 cents per share. That missed analyst estimates by two cents per share and the pipeline operator's shares were three cents higher at $44.93
And in the U.S., Ford's third-quarter profit eased one per cent to US$1.63 billion or 41 cents a share as European losses swamped record North American profits. Before special items, it earned 40 cents, beating Wall Street's forecast of 30 cents. Ford's revenue fell three per cent to $32.1 billion as vehicle sales dropped in Europe and South America.
The storm is also playing havoc with economic data.
The U.S. Conference Board is delaying the release of its consumer confidence index for October until Thursday.
There is also doubt whether the U.S. Labour Department will release its October non-farm payrolls report on Friday.
Dozens of U.S. companies have also postponed their quarterly earnings reports.
European markets advanced with London's FTSE 100 index ahead 0.91 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX up one per cent and the Paris CAC 40 ahead 1.27 per cent.