TSX adds to series of gains commodity prices mixed

Canada’s main stock market index was slightly higher Friday at the end of a positive week with the TSX powered higher by earnings news and positive manufacturing data from China.The S&P/TSX composite index edged up 12.59 points to 13,337.34, led by gains in energy companies and utilities.The Canadian dollar was down 0.16 of a cent to 95.76 cents US, down for a third day after the Bank of Canada removed its tightening bias and downgraded its economic forecast. The move led analysts to believe that interest rate hikes are off the table until 2015, leading the loonie to fall more than 1.25 cents this week.U.S. indexes were higher amid earnings reports after the close from Amazon and Microsoft while consumer giant Procter & Gamble posted results Friday.The Dow Jones industrials was ahead 21.03 points to 15,530.24, the Nasdaq ran up 16.84 points to 3,945.8 and the S&P 500 index rose 2.23 points to 1,754.3.Meanwhile, traders continued to take in economic reports that were held up during the partial U.S. government shutdown for more than half of October.The latest data showed that durable goods orders for September were up 3.7 per cent. Minus transportation orders, durable goods orders actually slipped 0.1 per cent.After the close Thursday, Amazon.com posted a quarterly loss of $41 million, or nine cents per share, matching analyst expectations. Revenue jumped 24 per cent $17.09 billion against expectations of $16.76 billion and its stock surged US$35.26 or 10.6 per cent to $367.47.Microsoft’s net income in three months through Sept. 30 grew 17 per cent to $5.24 billion, or 62 cents per share, from $4.47 billion, or 53 cents per share, a year ago. That beat the 54 cents expected by analysts. Revenue rose 16 per cent to $18.53 billion, also beating the $17.79 billion analysts were expecting and its shares were ahead $2.51 or 7.46 per cent to $36.23.On Friday, Procter & Gamble says its first-quarter net income rose eight per cent to $3.03 billion, or $1.04 per share. That compares with net income of $2.81 billion, or 96 cents per share, last year. Excluding one-time items net income was $1.05 per share, matching analyst expectations. Revenue rose two per cent to $21.2 billion. But analysts expected revenue of $21 billion and its shares slipped 53 cents to $80.08.It’s a quiet day for earnings out of Canada after a week that saw positive earnings reports from the likes of Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B), Goldcorp (TSX:G), Canadian National Railways (TSX:CNR) and Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP).CP was in focus Friday after its biggest shareholder sharply narrowed its position. Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management has sold about a third of its holding in the railroad.CP, which reported a record quarterly profit on Wednesday, said the hedge fund has sold 5.96 million CP shares for about US$140.00 a share, bringing the total divestment so far to seven million shares.On Friday morning, CP shares gained 91 cents to C$148.86, which is more than triple their level when Pershing Square began building up its stake in the railroad.The beaten-down utilities sector led advancers, up 0.6 per cent. The interest-rate sensitive sector has been under selling pressure since June amid speculation over when the U.S. Federal Reserve may start to wind down its monthly US$85 billion of bond purchases. That speculation pushed U.S. government bond yields substantially higher from around 1.6 per cent in early May to almost three per cent.The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield has since backed away to about 2.5 per cent. Canadian Utilities (TSX:CU) climbed 47 cents to $37.70.Commodities were mixed with as December crude inched ahead 70 cents to US$97.81 a barrel and the TSX energy sector climbed 0.45 per cent. Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) gained 48 cents to $37.55.The TSX gold sector was down 0.18 per cent while December bullion faded $4.10 to US$1,346.20 an ounce. Goldcorp (TSX:G) dropped 72 cents to C$27.04.The base metals component gave back 0.25 per cent after gaining Thursday in the wake of data showing stronger than expected expansion in the Chinese manufacturing sector as December copper lost two cents to US$3.25 a pound. Teck Resources was 37 cents lower to $30.17.The tech sector was negative with CGI Group (TSX:GIB.A) down 72 cents to $35.17. A subsidiary, CGI Federal, was one of the main contractors for the U.S. government’s troubled healthcare insurance website and its shares have slid 8.5 per cent since Oct. 16. A congressional committee was told this week that the government didn’t allow enough time to test the system before it went online Oct. 1. read more

EYEWITNESS More accomplishments…

…and nation sinksOur Eyewitness blew a fuse when he saw the pic of the “EC Independence Arch” being “commissioned”. Here’s the reason thousands of workers were stuck in traffic for hours; dozens of students were late and stressed out in their CSEC and UG exams and planes had to reschedule their flights, last Thursday: A photo-op of the head of ANSA McAL and his loyal country head handing over the arch to Prezzie and his Infrastructure Minister, Patterson.How low can we sink?? Maybe it’s something woven into our cultural roots?? From the time Columbus came with baubles and pieces of mirrors to exchange for our land and our labour?? When will we learn? So ANSA gives us a $20M shiny Aluminium arch – after the $605 million contract for pharma at TWICE the going price – and we have to spread wide? ANSA’s been making oodles of profits from their operations in Guyana – just check their Balance Sheet on the web? While the Trini economy has been tanking, guess where the profit’s been coming from? But have they made any investment in our manufacturing capabilities?? Not in this life!!How different are they from the old British colonial Bookers that had over 22 companies selling everything from needles to motor cars, but never put down a sugar refinery here to raise the value of our raw sugar. No! That was reserved for Britain just as ANSA’s manufacturing is reserved for Trinidad and elsewhere. We’re just a market into which the Caricom tariffs allow their goods to be dumped. No wonder their name here is ANSA McAL TRADING (GUYANA)!! They’re just traders – same as the Guyanese ones they used to hassle at Piarco Airport – save they ship their goods in containers and know folks at GRA!!Then, of course, there’s their purchase of a radio station – the ownership of which ceased to be questioned by the Government!! All other radio stations were “giveaways” – but this one!! It seems to have gone unnoticed that the moment they took over ownership, ANSA eliminated the diversity in musical genres that used to be aired into its own Trini notion of what is “proper” music.What’s scary about the ANSA Arch is it exposes what’s ahead with our present political leadership and the coming oil production.…in State broadcastingOne of the “125 accomplishments” of the Government, the Director of Public Information (can you think of a more Orwellian totalitarian name??) – but more familiarly known as the PM’s Shill – boasted about was the “$250M subsidy for NCN”!! Yes, the nitwit actually boasted about plunking all this money into broadcasting the Government’s propaganda – but can’t remove VAT on private education which amounts to less than this!! So what if this means stifling variety in the delivery of education – away from demotivated public school teachers??Anyhow, what does NCN need $250 million for? It’s not as if they’re a commercial-free broadcasting unit like the BBC in Britain or PBS in the US. NCN’s rates for TV are higher than all the other TV stations. What are they doing with all those revenues?? What the humungous subsidy means, however, is the Government is subsidising mediocrity.If the programming of NCN was even half-way decent, they could cover their costs. They need the subsidy to reward their propagandists!…in salaries?Another of the shill’s “accomplishments” was a $50,000 bonus to public service workers. But by giving the 10 per cent salary increase “prospectively” – FROM the announcement in August rather than for the year — the raise was LESS than the bonus!! Ouch!! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedEYEWITNESS: SNAFU…May 13, 2017In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: What now…September 6, 2017In “EYEWITNESS”EYEWITNESS: Moutar…August 24, 2017In “EYEWITNESS” read more