The first trading day of the New Year began on Monday, January 4th with investors hopeful that the current year will go better than the one just past, but fully aware that the major North American markets finished 2015 with a noticeable limp.
China set the tone for the day when the world’s second largest economy reported its manufacturing PMI number fell by 0.4 in December to 48.2 and marking a 10th month of contracting growth.
Cineplex Inc. (CGX-T) announced its American and Canadian ticket sales rose by 7% in 2015 to a record $11.1-billion.
Patient Home Monitoring (PHM-V) started the year on a positive note as its share price rose by over 23% to $0.80 when the elderly care company reported better than expected 1st-quarter financials.
And the shares’ of FuelCell Energy (FCEL-Q) rose by almost 11.5% to US$5.53 when the alternative energy company announced an agreement to supply power to a Pfizer Inc. (PFE-N) research facility in Connecticut.
While with alternative energy – Tesla Motors (TSLA-Q) reported it delivered an expected 17,400 vehicles in the 4th quarter and 50,580 in total for all of 2015.
Tuesday, January 5th brought us technical analysts David Tippon’s & Ron Meisels’ first and most timely market comment of the year which read in part – “The 2009-16 bull market starts the year a little bruised but still intact. The bull market can tolerate some short-term backing and filling to become fully oversold….”. (For a copy of this report contact ‘email@example.com’.)
Progressive Waste Solutions (BIN-N) share price rose by over 7% to US$24.87 after a Bloomberg report suggested the waste management company may put itself up for sale.
The shares’ of MannKind Corp. (MNKD-Q) plunged by over 49% to just US$0.74 on word that Sanofi (SNY-N) had terminated its licence for the development and sale of diabetes treatment Afrezza Inhalation Powder.
And it should come as no surprise that the price of Smith & Wesson (SWHC-Q) shares’ rose by over 10.6% to US$25.76 after the giant American weapons maker raised their revenue and profit projections going forward.
Industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers reported that 2015 marker the first year that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, with 15.4% of sales, became Canada’s largest seller of vehicles.
As the year-end 2015 numbers continued to be crunched, Canaccord Genuity’s Canadian Research Team reported on Wednesday, January 6th that the TSX, with a loss of 11.1% last year, was the world’s 3rd poorest performing developed stock exchange – with only Greece and Singapore fairing worse. Further – investors redeemed a record of over $10-billion of Canadian domestic equity funds in 2015.
TransCanada Corp. (TRP-T) announced it would take the U.S. government to court and challenge under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NADFTA) President Barack Obama’s denial of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Nobillis Health (NHC-T) shares’ fell by over 13% to $4.36 after the company reported that due to ‘errors’ – its two previous quarterly and last yearly financial reports could not be relied upon.
Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q) shares’ came under pressure after a financial newspaper suggested the giant tech company was considering cutting production of new iPhone 6 due to a lack of sales.
Industry sources reported that 2015 U.S. auto sales reached a record 17.47-million vehicles.
And on a similar vein – drivers in Saudi Arabia were shocked when the price of gasoline in that kingdom suddenly rose by 50% to……now wait for it…..US$0.24-a-litre.
Crescent Point Energy (CPG-T) shares’ fell by almost 12% to $13.08 on Thursday, January 7th when the petroleum company joined many of its counterparts in cutting its 2016 capital budget.
Similarly, the price of Nobilis Health (HLTH-Q) plunged by another 19.35% to US$2.50 on word their CEO Chris Lloyd had resigned from the company.
And just to make it 3-for-3, Finish Line (FINL-Q) shares’ cratered by over 14% to US$15.85 after the sports company failed to impress the street with its 3rd-quarter financials, but worse yet, announced the closing of up to 25% of its stores in the next few years.
Friday, January 8th saw the publication of the latest employment figures with Statistics Canada reporting that the country created a better than expected 22,800 new jobs in January which held the unemployment rate steady at 7.1%. To the south, the U.S. Labor Department also reported that their economy created a better than expected 292,000 new jobs in January, which also kept their unemployment rate level at 5.0%.
And Stats. Canada also reported that the value of the county’s building permits plunged by 19.6% in November to $6.23-billion.
Shares’ of The Gap Inc. (GPS-N) dropped by over 14% to US$3.83 after the retailer reported falling sales for its Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy outlets.
Suncor Energy (SU-T) is forced to extend its takeover offer for Canadian Oil Sands (COS-T) after it failed to acquire enough shares to complete the transaction by its Friday deadline.
During the week – Crude oil traded down to a 12-year closing price of US$32.89-a-barrel which helped to also pull the Canadian petro-dollar down to a 12-year low of US$0.7067.
Indigo Books & Music (IDG-T) at $15.16, Richmont Mines (RIC-T) at $5.27 and Wall Financial (WFC-T) at $14.50 all set new TSX 52-week trading highs while Canadian Pacific Railway (CP-T) at $158.07, Husky Energy (HSE-T) at $13.00 and Sears Canada (SCC -T) at $5.65 all sank to new 52-week trading lows.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials fell by 6.19% to 16,346, with the S&P 500 Index off by 5.97% to 1,922 and the NASDAQ Exchange lower by 7.25% to 4,644.
The China Syndrome – The S&P 500 suffered its worst opening week of the year going back to 1929 while the Dow had its worst weekly start going all the way back to 1897.
In Canada, the TSX Composite Index dropped by 4.34% to 12,445 and the TSX Venture Exchange was off by 2.09% to 515.
With commodities – Gold bullion gained 4.06% to 1,103, while copper lost 5.61% to US$2.02 with crude oil off by 11.20% to US$32.89, while natural gas gained 5.08% to US$2.48. Overall, the CRB Spot Commodity Index improved by 0.80% to finish the week at 378.
The Canadian dollar sank by another 2.12% against its American counterpart to end the week at US$0.7067.
And the closely watched CBOE Volatility Index or VIX surged up by 8.61-points to finish the week at a much more nervous level of 26.82.
And Finally – As you analyse your 2015 pay-packet, have some sympathy for the plight of Canada’s top 100 CEOs in that, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives , saw their average compensation fall by 2% in the past year to just……now wait for it…..$8.96-million.
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