Market Updates

Tuesday,July 29,2014
4:34 PM EST

TSX gains little by close


Shares in Toronto stayed barely afloat on Tuesday as optimism ahead of several major U.S. economic reports helped drive gains in every major sector, while shares of WestJet Airlines jumped after the carrier reported strong quarterly results.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 1.33 points to end Tuesday at 15,446.55.

The Canadian dollar toppled half a cent at 92.11 cents U.S.

Metals were stronger, most notably, Sherritt International, up 4.4% to $4.55, and Teck Resources, ahead 2.2%, to $26.35.

Also in the green was the utilities sector, powered up by Capital Power, up 1.7% to $27.15

Among financials, Bank of Nova Scotia gained 0.04% to $73.84, and Bank of Montreal gained a penny to $82.38.

Shares of energy producers advanced despite lower oil prices. Canadian Natural Resources added 0.2% to $48.26, and Talisman Energy was up 1.8% at $11.93.

WestJet posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit as higher ticket prices and fees helped it offset steeper fuel costs and a weaker Canadian dollar. The stock jumped 3.9% to $28.49.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange lost 3.35 points to 1,016.50

Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher, with metals and mining gaining 1%, global base metals, up 0.8%, and utilities, better by 0.6%.

The five laggards were weighed by information technology, fading 0.8%, gold, down 0.2%, and energy, off 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

All three major U.S. markets were down by the closing bell on Tuesday, as the summer doldrums dragged on.

The Dow Jones Industrials plummeted 70.48 points, closing at 16,912.11

The S&P 500 settled 8.96 points to 1,969.95. The NASDAQ composite dipped 2.21 points to 4,442.70.

The New York Times reported a bad quarter, with earnings plunging and coming short of analyst projections amid higher costs. The stock is down almost 7%.

Shipping giant UPS reported earnings that were short of what Wall Street was expecting, and its stock is down more than 3.5%. Profits in U.S. package deliveries, its second-biggest unit, were down 81.5% from the same time last year.

Apple is less than 2% from an all-time high, with the stock inching closer to $100 U.S.

Shares have rallied lately following a stock split that brought the stock price to a more affordable level for average investors. Wall Street is also excited about new products like the next iPhone as well as the company's new strategy to acquire more companies. Apple has bought two small startups in the past few weeks.

Video game retailer GameStop has fallen almost 8%. The drop comes after Electronic Arts announced a new subscription service, EA Access, for Xbox One owners. The game maker promises that the service will give subscribers access to its biggest titles.

EA is down 2%.

Chicken chain El Pollo Loco, after a spectacular rally following its IPO, is down almost 8%. The company's shares have more than doubled from their offering price in just three trading days.

Darden Restaurants, the company that owns the Olive Garden and recently sold Red Lobster, told investors that chairman and CEO Clarence Otis would be stepping down after the end of the year. David Hughes a board member, will be following him out the door.

The moves leave three seats open at Darden's board of directors, and the company has promised them to activist investors who had been pushing for a shakeup. Its shares are more than 4% higher.

Telecom Windstream told investors that it plans to spin off part of its network into a REIT, a type of real estate investing vehicle that should lower the company's tax bill. Shares surged 10%, making them one of the top gainers in the S&P 500.

Stocks across the sector were higher on speculation about other similar moves happening. Frontier Communications, another phone company, is up 14% and is the best performing stock in the S&P 500 today. AT&T is up almost 3%, and Verizon is trading more than 1% higher. Cable company Cablevision shot up more than 3% as well.

Herbalife, the nutritional supplement producer that has been going to war with hedge fund investor Bill Ackman over his huge bet against the company, reported earnings that disappointed for the first time in a while. The stock, which soared after investors dismissed Ackman's latest presentation against Herbalife, is down almost 12%.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries gained ground, dropping yields to 2.46% from Monday’s 2.49%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slipped 79 cents to $100.88 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices descended two dollars to $1,300.30 U.S. an ounce.

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