TSX higher on gold hikes

Italy new focus of euro-worry

The Toronto stock market is higher, led by gold stocks as bullion prices make strides amid concerns about Europe’s debt problems.

The S&P/TSX composite index took on 44.65 points to start the day and week at 12,452.90

The Canadian dollar strengthened 0.30 cents to 98.54 cents U.S.

Among stocks to watch this morning, Vermilion Energy Inc., whose quarterly profit more than doubled helped by higher oil and natural gas production from its Australian properties.

Oilfield services provider Ensign Energy Services Inc. said its third-quarter net profit nearly doubled, helped by a strong demand for oilfield services.

Yukon-Nevada Gold Corp. said its quarterly loss narrowed as it gained from warrants.


The TSX Venture Exchange gained 5.89 points to 1,655.90, while the Nasdaq Canada index slid 1.42 points to 427.51

Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher in the early going. Gold was up 1.5%, materials gained 0.9% and consumer staples added 0.5%.

The five laggards were weighed mostly by metals and mining and health-care issues, each off 1%, and global base metals, down 0.8%.


In New York, stocks managed to eke out gains after dipping at the open. The modest upswing in morning trading obscures the deepening worries about the stability of Greece and Italy.

The Dow Jones Industrials inched ahead 8.71 points, to 11,992

The S&P 500 regressed 0.37 points to 1,252.86, while the Nasdaq Composite Index tripped 10.65 points to 2,675.50.

DISH Network posted earnings per share that missed estimates by two cents, but shares of the company still rallied.

Shares of daily deals site Groupon edged up about 3% Monday, after closing at $26.11 U.S. Friday -- roughly 31% above their initial offering price in the stock's public debut that morning.

Investors remain wary about the European debt crisis, after the Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France, last week failed to produce any tangible new solutions.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou secured a deal to approve a bailout package during last week's meeting of global leaders, but talks yielded limited details.

And while Greece has been the center of focus, investors are now turning their attention to the domino effect Greece's problems are likely to have on Italy.

Mounting political uncertainty in Italy and Greece is also likely to add to volatility in the short term.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday denied reports that he was about to step down, after tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Rome over the weekend to decry his handling of the economy.

Papandreou survived a confidence vote in Athens on Friday, but by Sunday, he was making plans to hand over the reins to a yet-unnamed new prime minister. Papandreou will meet with opposition leader Antonis Samaras Monday.

After another week of wild swings, the Dow ended last week down 2%. The S&P 500 lost 2.5% for the week, and the Nasdaq dropped 1.9%.

On the economic front, the Federal Reserve will release data on consumer credit for the month of September on Monday. Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com expect credit to have expanded by $5 billion U.S., after dropping by $9.5 billion U.S. in August.

The monthly jobs report showed Friday that the U.S. added 80,000 jobs in October. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney were expecting a gain of 98,000 jobs.

The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury inched higher, lowering the yield to 2.04% from 2.05% late Friday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil for October delivery gained $1.14 to $95.40 U.S. a barrel

Gold futures for December delivery added $23.60 to $1,779.90 U.S. an ounce