The new trading week begins on Monday, August 18th with investors optimistic that the previous week’s late rally was a signal that the worst of the current market correction had run its course and that higher markets lay ahead.
Positive reinforcement came early in the week when it was reported that the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Consumer Confidence Index rose by 0.2-points in the past week to 58.8.
It is said that “A dollar here and a dollar there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money” – and as was the case when Dollar General (DG-N) trumped Dollar Tree’s (DLTR-Q) previous US$8.5-billion offer and bid US$8.95-billion in cash & stock to take-over fellow giant American rival Family Dollar Stores (FDO-N).
Enhancing shareholder value seemed to be the thymeon Tuesday, August 19th when Bellatrix Exploration (BXE-T) shares’ rose by over 10% to $8.82 when activist shareholder Orange Capital LLC announced it would be seeking board changes on the petroleum company.
Meanwhile, Painted Pony Petroleum (PPY-T) and AltaGas (ALA-T) went another way to strengthen themselves as they announced they were forming a 15-year strategic alliance for their natural gas infrastructure and marketing services.
And BHP Billiton (BHP-N) said they were spinning off their nickel, aluminum and some other non-core assets into a separate company that may have a market value of some US$25-million.
Billionaire Carl Icahn was front & centre once again on Wednesday, August 20th when the activist shareholder announced he paid US$470.5-million to purchase an 8.5% interest in Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ-N) and that he would probably be suggesting new ways for the beleaguered auto rental company should be run. (We understand that O.J. Simpson gets out relatively soon).
Long suffering retailer Sears Holdings (SHLD-Q) announced their ninth consecutive quarterly loss.
The northern frontier proved very hard to try and capture for Target (TGT-N) as the giant U.S. discount retailer reported that its Canadian expansion of last year we largely responsible for the giant discount retailer having to report a sizable 62% drop in its second quarter earnings.
The move towards electric vehicles finally reached the racing circuit on Thursday, August 21st when the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile announced they were starting an 1-0-race, all-electric Formula E race car circuit starting in Beijing on September 13th. (Elon Musk of Tesla Motors must be proud).
The Bank of America (BAC-N) announced it had agreed to pay a record US$16.65-billion to the U.S. government in order to get out of the penalty box for its involvement in the ill-fated mortgage-backed securities fiasco.
The exodus of wealthy Chinese out of their country seems to be accelerating as the Huron Report announced that 64% of that country’s rich (US$1.6-million or better) were either emigrating or planning to emigrate. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Real Estate Association reported on Friday, August 22nd that fully 33% of that cities home listings were purchased by Chinese nationals.
New long term Index closing highs were established over the week with the NASDAQ reaching a new 14-year closing high of 4,539, while the TSX Composite and S&P 500 Indexes reaching new respective record closing highs of 15,562 and 1,993.
Alliance Grain Traders (AGT-T) at $25.72, Guyana Goldfields (GUY-T) at $3.43 and Newalta Corp. (NAL-T) at $22.14 all established new TSX 52-week trading highs, while Argent Energy Trust (AET.UN-T) at $2.48, Duluth Metals (DM-T) at $0.31 and Le Chateau (CTU.A-T) at $1.25 all established new 52-week trading lows.
The markets moved very tentatively into the weekend as cautious investors once again went to the sidelines ahead of the two-day weekend break.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials gained 2.03% to 17,001, with the S&P 500 Index up by 1.70% to 1,988 and the NASDAQ Exchange ahead on the week by 1.66% to 4,539. North of the border the TSX Composite Index improved by 1.51% to 15,536 and the TSX Venture Exchange was up on the week by 0.98% to 1,006.
Gold bullion lost 1.92% to US$1,281, with crude oil down by 1.41% to US$93.59, natural gas up by 2.10% to US$3.89 and copper ahead by 3.21% to US$3.22. Overall, the CRB Spot Commodity Index was up on the week by 0.21% to 484.
The Canadian dollar lost 0.53% over the week against the U.S. buck to close at US$0.9135.
And the closely watch CBOE Volatility Index fell by 1.68-points to end the week at a much calmer level of 11.47.
And Finally – If you struggle to come to terms that Pooky or Fluffy are taking up more of your life than they used to, keep in mind a recent Packaged Facts survey that found that the amount we spend on our pets has risen by 4%-a-year over the past six years to the point where Canadians and Americans spent $6.6-billion and US$71.4-billion respectively on their pets in 2013.
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