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TMCNet:  TSX heads higher on positive eurozone news; BlackBerry higher amid Z10 debut

[February 05, 2013]

TSX heads higher on positive eurozone news; BlackBerry higher amid Z10 debut

(Canadian Press DataFile Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) By Malcolm Morrison TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market was higher Tuesday amid data that indicated the eurozone economy is improving and a positive reception to BlackBerry's new Z10 smartphone.



The S&P/TSX composite index gained 41.68 points to 12,759.3 while the TSX Venture Exchange was ahead 2.49 points to 1,218.99.

BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) shares were up 90 cents or six per cent to $15.89 on the TSX as the new touchscreen device went on sale in Canada. It went on sale in the U.K. last week but won't be available in the U.S. until mid-March.

Chief executive Thorsten Heins says that he's disappointed by the delay but respects the rigorous testing done by U.S. phone carriers.

There was also major acquisition activity in the tech sector as computer maker Dell agreed to be taken private by its founder and a group of investors that includes Microsoft in a deal worth US$24.4 billion. Shareholders are receiving $13.65 per share for their stock. Dell shares were halted in New York after closing Monday at US$13.27.

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.04 of a cent to 100.1 cents US.

U.S. indexes were also lifted by solid housing data.

The Dow Jones industrials advanced 83.04 points to 13,963.12 as U.S. home prices jumped by the most in 6 1/2 years in December, helped along by a low supply of available homes and rising demand.

CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, says home prices rose 8.3 per cent in December compared with a year earlier.

The Nasdaq climbed 10.33 points to 3,141.5 and the S&P 500 index gained 8.99 points to 1,504.7.

Markit, a financial information group, said its purchasing managers' index for the eurozone economy rose to a 10-month high of 48.6 in January from 47.2 in December.

Though the index remains below the 50 mark that would indicate expansion, the survey echoes other findings that the eurozone economy may be over the worst.

However, the eurozone economy continues to face a number of headwinds as many of its members have deep debt problems.

Italy's general election at the end of this month looks like it may yield a split parliament, which would make it more difficult to push through much-needed economic reforms. Meanwhile, the Spanish government is embroiled in a corruption scandal over alleged secret cash payments that has raised questions over the future of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Worries about the eurozone helped send North American markets lower on Monday, as eurozone concerns prompted some investors to take profits from strong gains racked up during January.

There was also a further indication of an improving Chinese economy. HSBC's Chinese purchasing managers index was firmly in expansion territory during January, coming in at 54, up from 51.7 in December.

In earnings news, telecom provider Bell Aliant Inc. (TSX:BA) says it had $70 million of net income or 31 cents a share in the fourth quarter, a $10-million decline from the same period of 2011 and well short of analyst estimates. Adjusted earnings came in at 37 cents, four cents less than expectations. The regional telecom company's operating revenue was also down, slipping 0.8 per cent to $695 million from $701 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and its shares were up 37 cents to $25.92.

Print and online publisher Yellow Media Ltd. is reporting adjusted net earnings of 70 cents per share in the fourth quarter. The $24-million adjusted profit, before impairment charges and a major gain on settlement of debt, was down from net earnings from continuing operations of $48.2 million or $1.53 in the same 2011 period. Its shares dipped two cents to $7.75.

Oil and gas giant BP's profit fell nearly 80 per cent in the fourth quarter in results released Tuesday, dragged down by payouts related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Net profit fell to $1.62 billion. BP took a loss of $3.85 billion for its settlement of all federal criminal charges with the U.S. government. Nevertheless, the results surpassed analysts' predictions, and BP said that its downstream activities _ refining and sale of petroleum products _ earned a record amount for the year.

Toyota's third quarter profit jumped 23 per cent to 99.91 billion yen (US$1.09 billion), compared to the same period the previous year. Quarterly sales edged up nine per cent to 5.3 trillion yen ($58 billion). The world's top automaker now expects fiscal year profit of 860 billion yen ($9.3 billion). It had initially expected a 780 billion yen ($8.5 billion) profit.

Industrial stocks also helped take the TSX higher with Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) ahead 74 cents to $114.28.

The energy sector was up 0.3 per cent with the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up 85 cents to US$97.02 a barrel. Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) climbed 26 cents to C$43.93.

The gold sector rose 0.35 per cent while April bullion gained $7.30 to US$1,683.70 an ounce. Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) improved by 36 cents to C$32.67.

March copper was ahead a penny at US$3.78 a pound and the base metals sector added 0.16 per cent. HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) ran up 14 cents to C$11.36.

European bourses advanced following steep losses Monday with London's FTSE up 0.58 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX edged up 0.31 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 rose 1.18 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.9 per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng plunged 2.3 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5 per cent to 4,882.70. The only gainer among major Asian markets was China's Shanghai Composite Index, which added 0.2 per cent.

(c) 2013 The Canadian Press

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