The first trading week of the last month of the year began on Monday, December 1st with Canadian investors looking enviously to the south to see the DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ Indexes at respective record, record and 14-year highs, while here at home the resource weighted TSX is back in corrective mode and the lowly Venture Exchange is only a few points above a 15-year low.
The preliminary American Black Friday shopping numbers came in and the National Retail Federation reported that retail sales were down by 11% from last year to US$50.9-billion. (Perhaps the images of people getting hit over the head with a 50-inch flat screen TV are starting to hit home, or because many retailers have extended their sales over more days).
Conversely, International Business Machines (IBM-N) reports that online shopping sales increased by 8.7% on Cyber Monday, and even here, shoppers spread their online purchases over more days of the weekend.
77% of the people of Switzerland vote “No” to a referendum that would require their central bank deep 20% of its reserves in the form of gold bullion.
Societe General calculates that a $20/bbl drop in the price of crude oil leads to a 26 bps gain id global GDP growth.
AutoCanada Inc. (ACQ-T) shares’ fell by over 10% to $47.42 as the market speculates that the western Canada based auto dealerships will see their sales fall if crude oil prices stay low for an extended period of time.
The Conference Board of Canada reports that our consumer confidence fell by another 1.4-points in November to 82.7.
While the controversial Keystone Pipeline project may be stalled, crude oil is still moving south as the National Energy Board reports that 3rd quarter railcar shipments of Canadian crude oil rose by 22% over the same quarter a year ago to a record 182,059 cars.
And under the heading of ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ – TransCanada Corp. (TRP-T) has halted any further work at its proposed Cacouna oil terminal in eastern Quebec after the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada found that the project may further endanger Beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River.
Money continued to flow into American equities on Tuesday, December 2nd when Autodata Corp. reported better than expected U.S auto sales for November would help to push their annual sales to a 11-year high of 17.2-million units.
Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF-N) announced the sale of its coal assets in West Virginia as the company continues in its shift to be a pure iron ore supplier.
RadioShack (RSH-N) shares’ plunged by over 15.25% to US$0.61 when the electronics retailer announced they were in a dispute with one of its lenders Salus Capital Partners.
Technical analysts David Tippon & Ron Meisels – “The underlying strength of the markets is obvious. We have repeatedly emphasised that bull markets surprise on the upside and the current one – though long in the tooth – continues to do that in spades….However, this market is getting substantially ahead of itself.” (For a copy of the full report please contact email@example.com).
Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AVNR-Q) share price rose by almost 13% to US$16.92 on word that Japanese drugmaker Otsuka Holdings would buy the company in a deal worth some US$3.5-billion.
Similarly, the price of Spansion Inc. (CODE-N) shares’ surged up by over 21% on the announcement the company would be taken over by Cypress Semiconductor (CY-Q) in an all stock deal of some US$1.59-billion.
British Columbia’s ambitious Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) plans got a healthy dose of reality on Wednesday, December 3rd when Malaysia’s frontrunner Petronas Nasional BHD announced they were delaying a final go decision on their $36-billion Pacific Northwest LNG facility because of falling petroleum prices and rising costs and high royalties.
Equifax Canada estimates that Canadians’ collective debt rose by 7.4% in the past year to a record $1.5-trillion.
Pipeline investments are often referred to as ‘your grandmother’s stock’ because of their steady price and high dividends, but Enbridge Inc. (ENB-T) shock up that image on Thursday, December 4th when the company’s shares’ surged up by over 19% to a new 52-week high of $65.13 on word they spinning out their land holdings as a separate real estate investment trust (REIT) and better yet, increasing their existing dividend by some 33%.
Going the other way, Canadian Oil Sands (COS-T) shares’ plunged by over 16% to $10.72 when the Syncrude parent cut its dividend and worse yet, lowered its capital expenditures for 2015.
Meanwhile the price of crude oil continued to fall when Saudi Arabia announced another cut in the price they will charge the United States and Europe for their petroleum products.
Bloomberg reported that China’s Shanghai Composite Index has risen by 19% in the past month after opening up the exchange to investors from round the world.
And retail continues to be a tough business as The Netherlands based retailer Mexx filed for bankruptcy protection.
Employment figures were the main economic story for Friday, December 5th when the U.S. Labor Department reported their workforce grew by a better than expected 321,000 new jobs in November which held their unemployment rate steady at 5.8%, while Statistics
Canada reported out economy shed an unexpected 10,700 jobs and that our unemployment rate rose by 0.1% to 6.6%.
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO-T) shares’ fell by almost 14% to US$11.91 when the retailer projected a weaker profit forecast for this holiday season.
It was another week of extremes as the spot price of uranium reached a new 3-year high of US$44.00-a-pound, The DJIA and S&P 500 Index rose to new respective record closing highs of 17,959 and 2,075. To the downside, natural gas dropped to a new 1-year low of US$3.65 while crude oil plunged to a new 5½-year low of US$65.69 and the TSX Venture Exchange fell to a new 6-year closing low of 702.
Consumer related issues continued to move higher with A&W Revenue Royalties (AW.UN-T) at $27.92, Metro Inc. (MRU-T) at $93.25 and WestJet Airlines (WJA-T) at $34.35 all established new TSX 52-week trading highs, while petroleum related issues continued to drag as Argent Energy Trust (AET.UN-T) at $0.68, EnCana Corp. (ECA-T) at $16.62 and Husky Energy (HSE-T) at $23.61 all fell to new 52-week trading lows.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials rose by another 0.73% to 17,959, with the S&P 500 Index also ahead by another 0.34% to 2,075, while the NASDAQ Exchange eased by 0.23% to 4,781. To the north, the TSX Composite Index lost 1.84% to 14,474 and the TSX Venture Exchange fell by 5.39% to 702. Overall, the CRB Spot Commodities Index eased by 0.66% to 452.
Gold bullion rose by 1.28% to US$1,191, with copper up by 2.11% to US$2.91, while crude oil fell by 0.46$ to US$65.69 and natural gas dropped by 7.09% to US$3.80.
The Canadian buck lost another 0.21% against the American dollar to end the week at US$0.8742.
And the closely watched CBOE Volatility Index or VIX lost 1.43-point to finish the week at a more relaxed level of 11.90.
And Finally – Communication across generations has always been awkward at best, but seems to be getting even more difficult as a recent Gallop survey found that while the majority of seniors still prefer a landline or cellphone as their primary method of communication, the fast majority of people under the age of thirty prefer to communicate via test or some other electronically written word.
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