The final trading week of the month began on Monday, February 23rd with investors of American issues sensing that the next bull run had begun as both the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 were in record high territory and the NASDAQ was only a few percentage points behind.
Decisions continue to be made in the oilpatch when the price of Artek Exploration Ltd. (RTK-T) shares’ surged up by over 48.5% to $2.60 when the northern British Columbia focused oil & gas company agreed to a $307-million all-stock takeover by Kelt Exploration Ltd. (KEL-T), a fellow Montney play petroleum company.
Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q), the huge iPhone and more company that just last year overtook petroleum giant ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM-N) to become the world’s largest company by market capitalization is now, with a market cap. of US$765-billion, twice the size of the former number one that has what was thought to be a giant market cap of US$374-billion.
And another number one in decline is Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX-T), the world’s largest producer of gold bullion, that saw its production of gold bullion fall by 1.15-million ounces in 2014 to just 6.25-million ounces.
Tuesday, February 24th begins on a positive note with U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reassuring the American public that she was not in any hurry to raise interest rates.
Meanwhile, word quickly spread that U.S. President Barrack Obama had carried out his threat to veto the Keystone XL II Pipeline.
The share price of Cott Corp. (BCB-T) rose by over 16% to $11.61 when the giant independent bottler impressed the street with its 4th-quarter financials.
In just four years, Canadian Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), with total 2012 contributions of $33.5-billion have overtaken Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) as Canadians’ number one tax deferral account.
Hudson Bay Co. (HBC-T) caught the attention on the market on Wednesday, February 25th as its share price rose by almost 20% to $26.59 when North America’s oldest company and one of Canada’s holders of prime real estate announced the spinout of its long awaited real estate trust.
Target Corp. (TGT-N) still managed to report a stronger than expected 4th quarter profit even after the giant American retailer booked a large expense due to the sudden closing of its 133 Canadian outlets.
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD-Q) follows Hudson Bay’s lead on Thursday, February 26th when the giant American retailer announced it would spin out up to 300 of its own store locations into a real estate trust.
Meanwhile, investors gave Canadian Tire Corp. (CTC.A-T) shares’ an 8.7% boost to $133.29 after the iconic Canadian retailer impressed with its 4th quarter financials.
Conversely, the share price of Taser International (TASR-Q) fell by over 15.5% to US$22.81 even though the stun gun manufacturer’s 4th quarter results were well ahead of the same quarter one year ago.
Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B-T) had quite a day of Friday, February 277th when not only did its long awaited C300 160-passenger aircraft join its smaller C100 in the air, but the world’s third largest commercial aircraft manufacturer also closed an oversubscribed $1.08-billion equity financing to go along with an oversubscribed US$2.25-billion issue of senior debt.
Weight Watchers Internatioal (WTW-N) shares’ plunged by over 35.5% to US$11.32 when the company’s forward forecast failed to impress analysts’ expectations.
With yet another direct example of the best thing for low commodity prices are low commodity prices – Petroleum industry analyst Baker Hughes Inc. reported that active U.S. oil rig counts fell by another 37 last week to a 3½-year low of 986 active rigs. The rig count is down an unprecedented 39% since last October and as of early December, 556 American oil rigs have been taken out of service.
Strategy Analytics reported that the number of global smartphone users rose by 37% in 2014 to 2.1-billion users.
The equity markets once again experienced new intermediate and long term trends with the TSX Venture Exchange rising to a new 3-month closing high of 707, the NASDAQ Exchange reached a new 15-year closing high of 4,988, and the DJIA and S&P 500 Index rose to respective new all-time highs of 18,225 and 2,115.
Brookfield Asset Management (BAM.A-T) at $69.58, Canadian Tire Corp. (CTC.A-T) at $133.69 and TELUS Corp. (T-T) at $45.14 all set new TSX 52-week trading highs, while Oryx Petroleum Corp. (OXC-T) at $3.83, SNC-Lavalin (SNC-T) at $38.34 and Trican Well Service (TCW-T) at $4.27 all hit new 52-week trading lows.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials softened by a marginal 0.04% to 18,133, with the S&P 500 Index off by 0.24% to 2,105, while the NASDAQ Exchange showed a gain of 0.16% to 4,964. Over on the Canadian side, the TSX Composite Index gained 0.41% to 15,234 and the TSX Venture Exchange rose by 1.73% to 707.
Gold bullion gained 0.58% to US$1,212, while copper rose by 3.86% to US$2.69, while crude oil fell by 3.17% to US$49.20 and natural gas dropped by 8.75% to US$2.71. Overall, the CRB Spot Commodities Index improved by 0.48% to 420.
The Canadian dollar rose by 0.24% against the US dollar to finish the week at an even US$0.8000.
And the closely watched CBOE Volatility Index or VIX eased by another 0.67-point to end the week at a much more calmer level of 13.67.
And Finally – To really appreciate how big a company Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q) has become consider that as of February 10th, Apple’s 4th quarter profit is larger than the combined profits of the 347 S&P 500 companies that had so far reported their 4th quarter financials.
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