TSX closes slightly higher after two days of losses on fiscal cliff

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher after two days of losses amid worries about the knock-on effects from the U.S. economy going over the so-called fiscal cliff.The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 5.75 points to 12,196.8 while the TSX Venture Exchange added 2.24 points to 1,300.92.The fiscal cliff label refers to a string of tax increases and steep spending cuts aimed at cutting the deficit which are set to take effect at the first of the year. If they are allowed to take full effect, the cuts and tax increases will total about at least half a trillion dollars and take a big chunk out of GDP, in 2013. Failure to come up with a compromise would likely tip the U.S. back into recession and drag down other economies with it.“I think now all focus, all emphasis, all the world is watching, is fiscal cliff, said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investment.[np-related]“And how the U.S. is going to deal with this fiscal cliff will determine how everything goes. And there will be no new money going in (the markets) until (traders) see some sort of resolution there.”Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says the fiscal cliff is the most imminent threat facing the Canadian economy.Traders found little comfort from an early afternoon announcement by President Barack Obama that he is inviting congressional and business leaders to a meeting next week for talks aimed at finding a compromise.But he made it clear that spending cuts must be combined with new revenue, adding he would not accept any approach that isn’t balanced and does not include the wealthy paying more taxes.Republicans say raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is a non-starter.The Canadian dollar was down 0.09 of a cent at 99.87 cents US. The loonie has lost almost nine-tenths of a cent over the past two sessions as worries about the fiscal cliff pushed investors to the perceived safe haven of U.S. Treasuries.New York indexes were mostly little changed after registering their worst declines of the year over the last two sessions as investors worry that taxes on capital gains and dividends could rise substantially after the first of the year.The Dow Jones industrials were up 4.07 points to 12,815.39.The Nasdaq rose 9.29 points to 2,904.87 and the S&P 500 index gained 2.34 points to 1,379.85.The TSX ended the week down 183.61 points or 1.48% while the Dow fell 277.77 points or 2.12%.There was some positive consumer news Friday. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey index came in at 84.9 in November, the highest reading since July 2007, from a final October reading of 82.6, reflecting lower gasoline prices and the improvement in housing and labour market data. Economists had expected a decline to 81.5 because of concerns over the fiscal cliff and the effects of superstorm Sandy.Positive economic data from China also seemed to have little effect on sentiment.Auto sales, consumer spending and factory output in the world’s second-largest economy all improved in October.Also in October, inflation eased further, giving Beijing more room to cut interest rates or launch new stimulus measures to speed a recovery with less danger of igniting politically dangerous price rises.Financials led TSX advancers Friday afternoon as Scotiabank rose 29 cents to $53.80 while Manulife Financial climbed 36 cents to $12.18.The TSX telecom sector was also positive as Telus Corp. reported its net profit rose 8% to $351-million or $1.08 per share. Overall revenue was up 5.8% to nearly $2.8-billion, up about $200-million from just over $2.6-billion in the third quarter of 2011. Overall wireless revenue was up 7% from a year ago, rising by $104-million to $1.5-billion and its shares were up 96 cents to $64.49.The energy sector also advanced as the December crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved up 98 cents to US$86.07 a barrel. Talisman Energy gained 34 cents to C$11.18 while Cenovus Energy advanced 65 cents to $33.79.Copper, viewed as an economic barometer as the metal is used in so many applications, dropped two cents to US$3.45 a pound and the base metals sector was lower. Turquoise Hill Resources lost 20 cents to $8.38 while Taseko Mines gained four cents to C$2.89.The gold sector was the major weight after two days of gains even as December bullion rose $4.90 to US$1,730.90 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. faded 63 cents to C$44.28.The European debt crisis also kept traders on edge as cash-strapped Greece said it would issue unusually short-term debt on Tuesday in the hope of raising enough money to make a key bond repayment days later.It will issue C2.1 billion in four-week treasury bills and C1 billion in 13-week bills.Greece is not expected to get its next batch of international rescue loans by Nov. 16, when it has to roll over C5 billion in three-month treasury bills.Elsewhere on the corporate front, Robert Dutton, the top executive at home improvement retailer Rona is leaving the company after 20 years as president and chief executive. It also comes just months after the company fended off a takeover by American rival Lowe’s. Rona shares ran ahead 77 cents or 8.24% to $10.12.The Canadian Press read more

A massive and unprecedented intrusion AP slams US governments snooping

first_img‘No conceivable right to know’He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters.“These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know,” Pruitt said.The government would not say why it sought the records. Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot.The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an Al Qaeda plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual.Read: Irish journalist Declan Walsh ordered to leave PakistanRead: Pressure grows on Obama to free hunger strikers – or put them on trial THE US JUSTICE Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Connecticut, and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than a hundred journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation.last_img read more