Mid-morning trading: stocks up on higher consumer spending

Stockhouse Editorial
0 Comments| January 30, 2014

The TSX composite was up 27.19 points to 13,670.41 in early trading on Thursday. The Dow was up 102.05 to 15,840.84, while NASDAQ gained 67.25 to 4,118.69.

Norbord Inc. (TSX: T.NBD, Stock Forum) says it expects to keep its quarterly dividend at 60 cents US per share throughout 2014, the same level since the wood panel producer adopted a variable payout that rises or falls depending on the market cycle. The Toronto-based company, which makes oriented-strand board used in house construction, says its dividend policy reflects a positive view on demand from its core markets in North America and Europe.

The Canadian dollar fell Thursday amid data showing U.S. growth coming in slightly lower for the fourth quarter. The loonie was down 0.1 of a cent to 89.36 cents U.S. as gross domestic product rose by an annualized rate of 3.2%, which was broadly in line with expectations.

The price of oil was little changed Thursday after a big drop in heating oil supplies was offset by the Federal Reserve's decision to further reduce its stimulus. Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up six cents at US$97.42 a barrel at 12:35 a.m. ET in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped five cents to close at $97.36 on Wednesday.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2% annual rate in the October-December quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years, an encouraging sign for 2014. The fourth-quarter increase followed a 4.1% growth rate in the July-September quarter, when the economy benefited from a buildup in business stockpiles.

The price of gold fell US$26.76 to US$1,241.15 an ounce, while silver slipped US$0.60 to US$19.17 an ounce.


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