Stocks flat as investors await Fed

The Toronto stock market was slightly higher Monday, led by rising resource stocks while traders look to the U.S. Federal Reserve to come up with another jolt of stimulus to revive a flagging economy.The S&P/TSX composite index rose 20.48 points to 12,288.5 while the TSX Venture Exchange added 2.14 points to 1,278.86.The Canadian dollar was up 0.2 of a cent to 102.43 cents US as copper prices added to Friday’s sharp runup on stimulus hopes.The loonie was also supported by the hawkish stance by the Bank of Canada.The central bank left its key rate unchanged at one per cent last week and repeated language indicating rates will likely rise at some point in the future.U.S. markets were lacklustre after jobs data last week missed modest expectations, raising expectations the Fed will announce on Thursday another round of bond-buying, known as quantitative easing, to help lower interest rates and thus boost loan growth.“Fed fumes is how I’ve referred to it,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis. “It’s abundantly clear right now that the markets are being powered by expectations of what central banks are going to do.”The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13.86 points to 13,320.5, while the Nasdaq composite index was down 11.4 points to 3,125.02. The S&P 500 index slipped 0.04 of a point to 1,437.88.Traders were also cautious as data released Monday showed that China’s economic slump is worsening.Imports declined 2.6 per cent from a year earlier, below analysts’ expectations of growth in low single digits. That came on top of August’s decline in factory output to a three-year low and other signs growth is still decelerating despite repeated stimulus efforts.A slowing Chinese economy is particularly bad news for commodity prices and stocks on the resource-intensive Toronto stock market. Analysts expect Chinese growth fell to a three-year low of 7.6 per cent in the latest quarter.In a speech to the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, Chinese President Hu Jintao gave no growth forecast or details of possible new stimulus but promised to continue a “proactive fiscal policy,” or government spending to pump up the economy.The base metals segment rose one per cent as hopes for further stimulus measures from central banks pushed copper prices to a 17-week high. The December contract in New York ahead five cents to US$3.69 a pound, adding to a 13-cent jump on Friday.“Copper is a China story,” added Fehr, noting China is the world’s biggest consumer of the metal watched as an economic barometer as it is used in so many industries. “(China) will post a pretty good number in 2012 and if indeed we’re going to get more easing out of the Chinese central bank, that will only provide additional support for internal demand.”Sherritt International (TSX:S) rose 27 cents to C$4.71 and Taseko Mines (TSX:TKO) rose 11 cents to $3.36.The energy sector edged up 0.45 per cent with oil prices lower following three days of gains. The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange off 13 cents to US$96.29 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) climbed 29 cents to C$31.83.Talisman Energy Inc., (TSX:TLM) shares ran up 28 cents to $14.15 as the company said that John Manzoni has agreed to step down as president and chief executive. He’s being replaced by Hal Kvisle, a former CEO of TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) who is already a Talisman director.The telecom sector was ahead 0.45 per cent with Telus Corp. (TSX:T) ahead 45 cents to $62.21.BCE (TSX:BCE) gained 17 cents to $44.31 as it said it will launch a made-in-Canada competitor to Netflix, available in English and French. CEO George Cope made the announcement at a CRTC hearing in Montreal into Bell’s $3.4-billion acquisition of Astral Media.Financial stocks were also positive as Royal Bank (TSX:RY) improved by 40 cents to $56.59.Gold stocks led TSX decliners as bullion pulled back $5.50 to US$1,735 an ounce. Iamgold Inc. (TSX:IMG) faded 15 cents to C$13.63.A major TSX loser was Ottawa-based nuclear medicine company Nordion Inc. (TSX:NDN) which lost a arbitration ruling to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. Nordion shares plunged $3.98 or 38 per cent to $6.48 after falling as low as $5.38 as the company also said it would suspend its quarterly dividend and stop buying back shares on its stock buyback plan.European markets were little changed as London’s FTSE 100 index was off 0.03 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX inched up 0.01 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 was off 0.16 per cent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *