TSX finishes higher as RIM lifts tech sector - UPDATE
Research In Motion shares surged, days ahead of the launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, on which many analysts have taken a bullish stance.
The release of the new Blackberry 10 (BB10) operating system phones is scheduled for January 30. Its stock ended up by over 10%, at $17.41, at one point touching $18.38.
Traders were bumping the stock higher after reports that CEO Thorsten Heins said the company was keeping the door open to new alliances, which includes a potential sale of its hardware business and the licensing of its software.
It also got suppport after analyst Peter Misek of Jefferies & Co. on Friday upgraded his recommendation to “buy” and boosted his share price target to $19.50 (U.S.) from $13 previously.
U.S. markets were closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, with Americans focused on the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Overseas, the Bank of Japan kicked off a two-day policy meeting where it is expected to look at ways to boost the economy, including expanding its asset-purchasing program and setting an inflation target.
In Europe, finance ministers met in Brussels to ponder the eurozone debt crisis. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, was expected to be named new chairman.
Back in Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite finished up by more than 68 points, at 12,794.25, while the more junior S&P/TSX Venture index rose over 1 point to 1,236.60.
Gold futures for February traded near steady in electronic trade, while crude futures were down on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Floor trading was shut for the U.S. holiday.
Toronto's main sectors were all higher, with significant gains seen in info tech, financials, materials, metals and mining, and energy.
In metals and mining news, shares in gold companies with mines or projects in Eritrea fell sharply Monday, after reports from international news agencies broke out that more than 100 dissident soldiers with tanks stormed the Ministry of Information in the small East African nation and forced state media to call for political prisoners to be freed.
Nevsun Resources (TSE:NSU), which operates its Bisha mine in the country, issued a statement that said it has received confirmation that the capital city of Asmara - where the ministry of information building is located - is calm. Its shares still fell more than 8% in Toronto on the uncertainty.
Junior gold explorer Sunridge Gold (CVE:SGC), which is working to develop its Asmara project in the nation, saw its shares tumble almost 20% to 23 cents. Sunridge said that information from the company's in-country staff is that Asmara is calm, and "these events have had no effect on Sunridge's ongoing engineering studies and drilling operations in the country."
OceanaGold Corp. (TSE:OGC) (ASX:OGC) Monday announced 2012 production and cash costs that it said met its expectations, and said 2013 will see its Didipio project in the Philippines “transition to operations”. For the quarter that ended December 31, 2012, the company reported gold production of 76,844 ounces, resulting in gold production of 232,909 ounces for the year.
Treasury Metals (TSE:TML) provided Monday an update on the mine permitting process for its Goliath gold project in Ontario, after last month announcing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) accepted its project description. Today, the company said in a statement that the CEAA concluded to have the Goliath project subject to an environmental assessment. It has also received the notice of draft environmental impact assessment (EIS) guidelines.
Perseus Mining (TSE:PRU) (ASX:PRU) saw its shares fall over 6% Monday, after it reported second quarter production that came in well below its already revised guidance.
Citing mechanical challenges that held back production growth at its Edikan gold mine in Ghana, the company posted gold production of 51,090 ounces, below its guidance of 58,500 to 61,750 ounces, which was revised down from 65,000 to 70,000 ounces in late November.
In other Canadian corporate news, Canadian home improvement retailer Rona (TSE:RON) saw its shares rise over two per cent Monday after announcing sweeping changes to its board as it looks to recover and refocus after a tumultuous year in 2012.
Among the changes is the addition of Robert Chevrier, who joins Rona's board as executive chairman, effective immediately. Chevrier replaces Robert Paré, who steps down as chairman but continues to serve as a board member.
Vecima Networks (TSE:VCM), a manufacturer for broadband cable and wireless network infrastructure, says its board has authorized a special distribution to shareholders of $1.00 per share, following a strategic review of alternatives.
The distribution, in the form of a return of capital, is subject to shareholders approving a reduction in the stated capital of the common shares.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada said that wholesale sales rose 0.7% in November to $49.6 billion, largely due to higher sales in the computer and communications equipment and supplies industry. In volume terms, wholesale sales were up 0.5%.
U.S. markets were closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but reopen tomorrow as earnings season continues in full force.
Those slated to report this week include tech heavyweights Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN). Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will also be reporting this week, with Apple's numbers on Wednesday set to make a big impact on markets.
Analysts polled by FactSet currently expect Apple to post fiscal first-quarter earnings of $13.45 a share, down from $13.87 a year ago. Revenue, however, is expected to rise to $54.92 billion from $46.33 billion in the year-earlier period.
Economic data this week includes sales of existing homes in December on Tuesday, sales of new homes in December on Friday, with jobless claims and the PMI Manufacturing Index flash out on Thursday.
European markets finished higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX was up 0.61% while France's CAC 40 rose 0.57% and Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.43%.