Stocks little changed in early trading ahead of busy earnings week

Canadian Press, The Canadian Press
0 Comments| April 21, 2014

TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market was little changed Monday as traders look to a heavy slate of earnings news coming out during the week.

The S&P/TSX composite index dipped 9.55 points to 14,490.84. The Canadian dollar was down 0.14 of a cent to 90.66 cents US.

U.S. indexes were positive with the Dow Jones industrials up 26.74 points to 16,435.28, the Nasdaq composite index was ahead 3.21 points to 4,098.73 while the S&P 500 index climbed 2.56 points to 1,867.41.

On Monday, traders will look to results coming in after the close from Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: T.RCI.B, Stock Forum). Rogers acquired additional wireless spectrum during the January auction for $3.3 billion, which will be needed to allow consumers to stream NHL games on their mobile devices. Rogers scored a $5.2-billion multi-year deal for the national rights to all NHL games last fall and its shares climbed 16 cents to $44.43.

``There's a bit of a transition going on in that industry,'' said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

``We're seeing the telecom providers understand that the real future of profitability and pricing power relates to the delivery of content, particularly as it relates to the mobile platform.''

Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX: TCK.B, Stock Forum) also reports this week and its results will be impacted by falling commodity prices. Copper prices have tumbled 11 per cent this year and coal prices have fared even worse, falling from US$300 a tonne in 2011 to about $120 a tonne. Teck shares slipped 32 cents to $23.99.

Meanwhile, shareholders in Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.  (TSX: T.CP, Stock Forumwill look to see how severe winter weather affected the railway in the quarter and how increased petroleum shipments have lifted the bottom line. CP shares climbed 45 cents to $163.66.

The tech sector in particular will be in focus as traders take in earnings during the week from tech heavyweights including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix. The results are being released following a sharp correction in the tech sector that has seen the Nasdaq index drop about five per cent this month.

``We saw a big selloff in the markets and it was driven by this concern that stocks in general have become over valued _ but there were certainly pockets of the market that were frothy and technology was really at the centre of that,'' added Fehr.

``So we saw some of that froth come out of the market but the good news here for investors is that it didn`t seep into the broader market.''

Elsewhere on the corporate front, the U.S. government said Friday that it needs more time to prepare its recommendation to president Barack Obama on TransCanada Corp.'s (TSX: T.TRPStock ForumKeystone XL pipeline. The southern leg of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline is already completed, but the northern stretch that crosses the Canada-U.S. border requires a presidential permit. TransCanada shares fell $1.62 to $49.68.

Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX: T.ABX, Stock Forumshares were down 50 cents to $19.31 following weekend reports from Bloomberg and others that merger talks between the Toronto-based mining company and Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM, Stock Forumbroke off Sunday.

However, sources said the issues separating the two parties are minor, leaving open the possibility that the deal could still happen.

The TSX energy sector was the leading advancer, up 0.2 per cent as May crude in New York rose 30 cents to US$104.60 a barrel.

The gold sector was the biggest weight, down 0.7 per cent while June bullion fell $7.20 to US$1,286.70 an ounce.

The metals and mining sector was down 0.55 per cent while May copper was unchanged at US$3.04 a pound.


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