Toronto stock market heads for positive open ahead of slew of corporate earnings | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Toronto stock market heads for positive open ahead of slew of corporate earnings

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market headed for a slightly higher open Monday amid mixed commodity prices and quiet trading action overnight with most of Asia closed for the Lunar New Year.

The Canadian dollar continued to lose ground in the wake of disappointing employment and housing starts data at the end of last week. The loonie shed 0.45 of a cent to 99.28 cents US.

U.S. futures were slightly higher as the Dow Jones industrial futures gained 29 points to 13,955, the Nasdaq futures were ahead 4.5 points to 2,776.5 while the S&P 500 futures were ahead three points to 1,515.5.

Prices for oil and metals were lower as the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 14 cents to US$95.58 a barrel.

March copper was a penny lower at US$3.75 a pound while April bullion faded $7.80 to US$1,659.10 an ounce.

It's a quiet day on the economic calendar. The major Canadian reports come out Friday when traders will look to the latest reading on manufacturing shipments and new home prices.

In the U.S., January retail sales are released Wednesday while investors will assess the mood of the consumer when the University of Michigan's consumer confidence index is released.

The fourth-quarter earnings season is winding down in the U.S. but Canadian investors will be taking in a slew of earnings reports from corporate Canada this week.

Pipeline company TransCanada (TSX:TRP) posts earnings Tuesday. During the rest of the week, traders will take in reports from resource giants including Talisman Energy (TSX:TLM), Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE), gas giant EnCana Corp. (TSX:ECA) and Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX).

Outside of the resource sector, Sun Life Financial (SLF), and telecoms Telus Corp. (TSX:T) and Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) hand in results.

After the markets closed Friday, Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) reported an 83 per cent drop in net earnings in its fourth quarter to $45 million, or 11 cents per diluted share, largely due to a $168 million write-down on its Kintyre project in Australia and lower profits from its uranium business. Adjusted earnings came in at 60 cents, beating forecasts of 41 cents.

In other corporate news, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (TSX:BAM.A) says it will pay US$414 million to buy a portfolio of 19 apartment communities in three states in the U.S. Southeast. Most of the 4,892 units included in the deal are concentrated in Charlotte, N.C., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., but some are also in the neighbouring states of South Carolina and Virginia.

Onex Corp (TSX:OCX) and its affiliates have agreed to sell their 50 per cent interest in RSI Home Products for approximately US$323 million. The Onex Group invested $318 million in October 2008 to acquire RSI preferred equity. The Toronto-based group says it will have received US$471 million including prior distributions when the sale closes.

Alacer Gold Corp. (TSX:ASR) will pay a special dividend to distribute $70 million in cash from the sale of its 49 per cent interest in the Frog’s Lake mine in Australia. The sale is part of a strategic review conducted by the Toronto-listed company, which says it will now focus its exploration activity on targets with the greatest potential to return "significant and immediate value."

European bourses were higher as eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels. The ministers have still to approve the details of a bailout plan for Cyprus. That will likely hinge on how they will deal with the country’s banks, whose bad loans would be too large for the Cypriot government to take on.

Analysts warn that the movements of the euro could shift moods in markets in Europe in the coming days after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi noted that an excessive appreciation would affect its future monetary policy.

London's FTSE 100 index gained 0.35 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX edged up 0.07 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.71 per cent.

In Asia, markets were closed in Hong Kong, mainland China, Seoul, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam for the Lunar New Year holiday, while Japanese markets were shut for a national holiday.

Of the markets that were open, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.2 per cent lower. Key stock indexes in Thailand and New Zealand also fell.

The TSX finished last week little changed, up a slight 0.25 per cent to preserve a solid gain during January that saw the market rise by two per cent. New York indexes have also largely moved sideways since racking up a strong advance last month where the Dow industrials ran ahead about six per cent.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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