The new week began with investors having the firm knowledge that it was indeed St. Patrick’s Day, that 95% of those living on the Crimea peninsula had voted to leave the Ukraine and join mother Russia and the first day of spring was just a few days ahead. Everything else was open for conjecture.
The markets opened with a surge to the upside on Monday, March 17th as investors realized that the legal or illegal Crimea referendum was completed without incident and that any repercussions against Russia in regard to the affairs of Crimea would be superficial at most.
Moodys/RCA CPPL reported that retail mall vacancy rates fell by a further 0.9% last year to a post recession low of 8.6% while of value of commercial retail assets rose by an encouraging 23%.
Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B-T) shares’ got a much needed 4.6% boost to $4.10 on word the Montreal bases commuter train manufacturer was picked to produce 240 TRAXX railway locomotives for South Africa’s state owned Transnet SOC Ltd.
The share price of American Hotel Income Properties REIT LP (HOT.UN-T) sagged by 6.6% to $10.70 when the company’s 4th quarter financials failed to meet the streets expectations.
Under the heading of ‘Cross Border Shopping’ – Statistics Canada reported that Canadians bought an additional $2.3-billion of foreign securities in January, while foreigners bought an additional $1.1-billion of Canadian securities in the same month.
Precious metal stocks took a collective tumble on Tuesday, March 18th as the threat of any military repercussions from the Crimea referendum seemed to be fading. Economic sanctions are one thing, but big guns pointed across borders makes the market nervous.
The share price of James River Coal (JRCC-Q) fell by over 13% to US$0.61 on word the company defaulted on an interest payment on one of their convertible debentures.
Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz got the country’s collective attention when he cautioned that the economy was having a more difficult time than was expected in adjusting to strains of having the Baby Boomers pulling money out of the economy in order to prepare for their own retirement.
While on a related note, with the American economy continually gaining strength and the memory of the 2008-09 Great Recession fading, an Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) survey found that 18% of Americans now feel comfortable about having sufficient funds for their retirement – up by 5% from those surveyed in 2009.
The markets, that were overall having a pretty good day, suddenly turned turtle late Wednesday, March 19th after U.S. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen reported that their Federal Open Market Committee would begin to further reduce by US$10-billion the amount of long-term bond purchases it would make in any given month to US$55-billion per month, and also hinted that interest rates may being to go up in 2015.
Toyota Corp. (TM-N), reported it had reached an US$1.2-billion penalty agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in conjunction with the world’s largest automaker’s unexplained sudden acceleration of its vehicles some years ago.
NeuLion (NLN-T) shares’ surged up by almost 18% to $1.05 when the smaller internet video technology provider entered into a strategic partnership with larger Garnett Co. (GCI-N) USA TODAY Sports Media Group to share digital advertizing sponsorships.
And this just in – The Orange County, California fire department warned that two fires at Orange County golf courses had been traced back and confirmed to have been the result of sparks coming off of players’….now wait for it,,,,titanium golf clubs.
Starbucks (SBUX-Q) once again showed why they are a sector leader on Thursday, March 20th when the premier coffee chain announced it would begin selling alcohol drinks during the evening hours at the thousands of outlets where it is licensed to do so.
Joe Oliver moves over from natural resources to take over from retiring Jim Flaherty as Canada’s new Minister of Finance.
The share price of Canada’s innovative medical marihuana stocks took a collective tumble on Friday, March 21stwhen a federal court ruled that the country’s current medical marihuana growers could continue to grow their own medicine after the previously announced Health Canada deadline of April 1st.
Lin Media (LIN-N) shares’ surged up by almost 22% when they and Media General (MEG-N) agree to merge to form America’s second largest pure-play television company.
The markets backed into the weekend on as the Russian/Western World rhetoric continued to outweigh business news.
Technical analysts Olaf Sztaba & Ron Meizels in their commentary of the market noted that at – “This stage of the bull market requires a careful evaluation of stock holdings. This constitutes taking profits in tired names and, at the same time, looking for new buying opportunities. The energy and material sectors could be where to start”. (To see the full report send a request to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
One new long-term index high was established during the week with the TSX Composite Index rising to a new 6-year high of 14,362.
New TSX 52-week trading highs were established during the week by Cargojet Inc. (CJT-T) at $21.74, EnCana Corp. (ECA-T) at $22.9 and Silver Standard Res. (SSO-T) at $13.52, while new TSX trading lows were set by Boston Pizza Royalties (BPF.UN-T) at $19.22, Halogen Software (HGN-T) at $10.18 and Sierra Metals (SMT-T) at $1.55.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials rose by 1.48% to 16,303 with the S&P 500 Index gained 1.33% to 1,866 and the NASDAQ Exchange improved by 0.75% to 4,277. To the north, the TSX Composite Index gained 0.76% to 14,336 while the TSX Venture Exchange finished the week up a marginal 0.14% to 1,035.
Gold bullion lost 3.54% to US$1,334, with copper unchanged at US$2.95, while crude oil gained 0.94% to US$99.49 and natural gas shed another 2.50% to US$4.29. Meanwhile the CRB Commodities Index gave back another 3.39-points to end the week at 300.07.
The Canadian dollar lost 1.09% to finish the week at US$0.8913.
And the closely watched CBOE Volatility Index or VIX fell by 2.82points to end the week at a much calmer level of 15.00.
And Finally – With the thought of summer holidays coming to the forefront, consider a TD Bank survey that found that while 93% of Canadian’s felt that vacations were important to them, only 43% of those surveys said that they planned to use up all of the vacation time that was entitled to them.
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