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Toronto stock market to head lower, Bombardier announces delay in CSeries launch

The TMX Group logo, home of the TSX, is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
January 16, 2014 - 5:36 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked to open slightly lower Thursday amid mixed commodities and U.S. earnings news.

Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) will be in focus after the transportation giant said the entry of its new CSeries passenger jets has been delayed. It said that the CS100 won't be going into service until the second half of 2015 while the CS300 will go into service about six months later.

The initial CSeries planes were expected to be ready for service late this year or early in 2015 after 12 months of flight tests, which began in mid-September last year.

The company also announced a firm agreement to sell 16 CS300 aircraft to a Saudi Arabian airline with an option to sell an additional 10 aircraft. The order for the 16 aircraft is valued at approximately US$1.21 billion, but should all 10 options be exercised, the value of the contract would increase to US$1.99 billion.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.18 of a cent to 91.55 cents US.

U.S. futures were little changed following strong gains Wednesday amid earnings reports from the banking sector and ahead of data on jobless insurance claims and inflation.

The Dow Jones industrial futures declined 21 points to 16,387, the Nasdaq futures were off a point to 3,597.3 while the S&P 500 futures slipped 3.5 points to 1,838.

Goldman Sachs turned in fourth quarter earnings per share of US$4.60, higher than the $4.22 that analysts had forecast. Revenue came in at $8.78 billion versus the $7.713 billion that was expected and its stock was up 1.25 per cent in pre-market trading.

Citigroup posted earnings per share ex-items of 82 cents versus the 95 cents that analysts had forecast. Revenue was $17.94 billion, weaker than the $18.18 analysts expected and its shares slid 2.9 per cent.

Economists expect December's consumer price index to have risen 0.3 per cent month over month, translating into an annualized inflation rate of just 1.5 per cent.

BMO Capital Markets said it expects jobless insurance claims for last week to have declined by 5,000 to 325,000.

This is the first glimpse of the job market since the release last Friday of a disappointing employment that showed job creation coming in at 74,000, far less than the 200,000 that had been expected.

That data raised a fresh round of questions about how the Federal Reserve will proceed on further cutting back on its massive monthly bond purchases which have kept long term rates low and encouraged a strong rally on equity markets.

It said last month as it cut monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion that further tapering depended on the strength of the economy, particularly job creation.

On Wednesday, the Fed issued a positive reading on the economy. Its latest regional survey, known as the Beige Book, said the economy expanded at a moderate pace in December and retail sales gained in most of the 12 Fed districts.

The Fed added that there was some weather effect seen in retail sales.

The Beige Book also said that the U.S. real estate markets continued to improve, with price increases in seven of 12 Fed districts.

In other corporate news, Montreal-based food company Saputo (TSX:SAP) is closer to acquiring Australia’s oldest dairy processor. Bega Cheese Ltd. says it will sell its 18.8 per cent stake in Warrnambool Cheese & Butter to Saputo. Prior to Bega’s announcement, Saputo had acquired about one-quarter of Warrnambool’s stock. Saputo continues to face one rival, Australia’s Murray Goulburn, which owns about 17.7 per cent of Warrnambool.

Sears Canada (TSX:SCC) is cutting more than 1,600 positions as the company looks for ways to lower expenses. The retailer has eliminated 283 jobs at warehouses across much of the country and it will also outsource the 1,345 associate jobs at its three customer call centres in Toronto, Montreal and Belleville, Ont., over the next nine months.

And Best Buy shares plunged 28 per cent in pre-market trading as it said Thursday that a key sales barometer fell during the holiday shopping season. Best Buy Co. said comparable store sales dipped 0.8 per cent for the nine weeks ended Jan. 4. This was better than the 1.7 per cent decline in the prior-year period

On the commodity markets, February crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 22 cents to US$94.39 a barrel.

March copper declined two cents to $3.34 a pound while February bullion faded $1.70 to US$1,236.60 an ounce.

European bourses were mixed as London's FTSE 100 index rose 0.08 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX was down 0.18 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 declined 0.2 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 retreated 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.4 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi added 0.2 per cent, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 jumped 1.2 per cent and mainland China’s Shanghai Composite Index was practically unchanged.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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