Friday, 16 March 2012

TSX heads for higher open as commodities rise


 #bell          #astral
TORONTO — The Toronto stock exchange appeared set for a slightly higher open Friday amid rising prices for oil and metals and a major acquisition in Canada's media sector that will combine two of the country's largest television and radio businesses.
Canada's largest telecommunications company BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) is buying Astral Media Inc. (TSX:ACM.A) for $3.38 billion.
The transaction will give BCE a slate of media assets that include the CTV television network, TV stations, specialty channels, radio stations and advertising billboards right across the country.
The Canadian dollar was little changed, down 0.03 of a cent to 100.76 cents US.

U.S. futures were higher ahead of the latest readings on inflation and consumer sentiment. The Dow Jones industrial futures gained 22 points to 13,194, the Nasdaq futures rose 5.5 points to 2,712.2 and the S&P 500 futures were ahead 2.1 points to 1,398.1.
Oil prices were higher with the April crude contract in New York ahead 31 cents to US$105.42 a barrel. Prices oscillated wildly on Thursday with the benchmark New York rate dropping around $3 a barrel at one stage on reports that the U.S. and Britain had agreed to release spare supplies of oil in an effort to drive fuel prices lower. However, the White House later said there was no plan to release supplies and oil prices recovered much of their losses.
Copper prices were up a penny to US$3.90 a pound.
Bullion prices continued to weaken with the April contract down $17.50 to US$1,642 an ounce.
Traders looked for the February reading of the consumer price index to rise 0.5 per cent from January, reflecting a sharp runup in gasoline prices that month. Oil prices had also surged from US$98 to about US$110 as tensions grew with Iran over the country's nuclear program. Prices for crude have also risen because a string of improving economic data have raised demand prospects.
Investors will also take in the latest reading of the influential University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey.
Market participants feel more confident that the U.S. economy is on a firmer footing but that rising confidence has been reflected more on New York markets, where the Dow Jones industrials have bounded ahead more than eight per cent year to date.
But the Toronto market is largely based on the resource and financial sectors. And while financials have made gains for the year, the base metals sector is flat while the gold group is down sharply, leaving the TSX up about 3.5 per cent year to date.
On Friday, the TSX headed for a flat end to the week as investors take profits from a strong rally that started in October and started to stall three weeks ago.
European bourses were positive with London's FTSE 100 index ahead 0.5 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.62 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 added 0.21 per cent.
Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed slightly higher. Mainland Chinese shares also advanced with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gaining 1.3 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent and South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.5 per cent.
CP24 is a division of Bell Media

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