The last trading week of the month begins on Monday, November 25th with the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 Index at record highs after an unprecedented 5-week march out of one of the deepest corrections in recent memory, leaving investors to wonder if the trend can continue or should they be thankful for the gains and move to the sidelines as the American Thanksgiving and Black Friday become the centre of attention.
Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC-T) caught the eye of investors when North America’s oldest company announced they were freeing up capital by taking a US$1.25-billion mortgage on its prized Saks Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan. The appraised value of the site has increased by $1.3-billion to US$4.1-billion since the Bay purchased it just one year ago.
Cimatron Ltd. (CIMT-Q) shares’ surged up by over 42.5% to US$8.67 on word that 3D Systems (DDD-T) was purchasing the 3D-software company in an all-cash deal worth some US$97-million.
United Parcel Service (UPS-N), the world’s largest package delivery company, announced they were hiring 95,000 temporary workers to help with this holiday season.
While on a sad note, Budweiser announced it was dropping its iconic Clydesdales on its Christmas advertisements this season.
Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q) became the world’s largest company on Tuesday, November 25th when its stock closed at a new record high of US$119.95 and the capitalization of the giant electronics manufacturer reached an all-time high of US$701-billion.
On the other side of the ledger crude oil fell by another $1.89 to a new 4-year closing low of US$73.89-a-barrel.
Markets were generally quiet on Wednesday, November 26th, ahead of both the American Thanksgiving and the OPEC meetings concerning their crude oil production levels.
The University of Michigan reported theirclosely watched Index of Consumer Confidence eased by 0.6-point in November to 88.8.
Deere & Co. (DE-N) shocked the market by stating that led by a perceived downturn in agriculture spending will drop their North American sales for 2015 by some 15%.
SeaDrill Ltd. (SDRL-N) shares’ plunged by almost 23% to US$16.01 when the deep sea driller suspended its $1.00-a-share quarterly dividend in an effort to conserve cash in an environment of declining crude oil prices.
Thursday, November 27th gave us American Thanksgiving, a day where the Calorie Control Council says many Americans will consume 4,500 calories in a run-up to Black Friday’s calorie burning shopping spree.
Statistics Canada reported the economy grew by another 0.4% in September bringing the year-over-year growth up to a better than anticipated 2.3%.
Canada Post estimates that holiday parcel deliveries from November through December will be up by some 20% this year to 800,000 parcels-a-day.
OPEC made it official by announcing its organization will not cut any of its 30-million barrels-a-day of crude oil production and that it believes the market will dictate the correct prise of oil.
Most investors were shocked when the commodity markets opened once again on Friday, November 28th to see the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil down by over $6 to US$66-a-barrel as a direct result of OPEC’s decision to hold production levels.
Meanwhile, the National Energy Board reported that exports of Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy oil or oil sands bitumen rose by another 70,000 barrels per day in September to a record 2.1-million barrels -a-day. Because it is mostly landlocked, WCS oil sells for about $15-a-barrel less that its U.S. counterpart WTI oil.
The unit price of Parallel Energy Trust (PLT.UN-T) plunged by over 12% to $1.80 when the petroleum producer picked a bad day to announce it was cutting its cash distribution to unit holders by 50%.
Consumer and transportation stocks moved sharply higher as they are thought to be a beneficiary of the lower price of crude oil.
Dominion Diamond (DDC-T) and Rio Tinto (RIO-N) announced they will spend US$350-million over four years to expand their Diavik diamond mine in northern Canada.
The Canadian Government reported a $400-million budget surplus for September as opposed to last September’s $3.8-billion budget deficit.
Telecommunications giant BCE Inc. (BCE-T) announced it was purchasing independent mobile retailer Glentel Inc. (GLN-T) in an all-cash deal worth some $670-million.
New trend highs and lows were once again established during the week with the DJIA reaching a new all-time closing high of 17,828, match by the S&P 500 Index at a new record close of 2,073, while the NASDAQ established a new 14-year closing high of 4,792. On the downside, the crude oil fell to a new 5½-year closing low of US$65.99 and copper dropped to a new 5-year low of US$2.84, all of which helped the TSX Venture Exchange to close at a new 6-year low of 742.
Amaya Gaming Group (AYA-T) at $39.25, Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC-T) at $24.28 and Thomson Reuters (TRI-T) at $45.76 all set new TSX 52-week trading highs while Bonterra Energy (BNE-T) at $43.14, Ivanhoe Energy (IE-T) at $1.07 and Trican Well Service (TCW-T) at $7.70 all established new 52-week trading lows.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials improved marginally by another 0.10% to 17,828, while the S&P 500 Index rose by 0.19% to 2,068 and the NASDAQ Exchange gained 1.68% to 4,792. North of the border, the oil sensitive TSX Composite Index fell by 2.42% to 14,745 and the metals sensitive TSX Venture Exchange dropped by 5.96% to 742.
Gold bullion fell by 1.84% to US$1,176, with copper dropping by 6.27% to US$2.84, while crude oil plunged by 12.61% to US$65.99 and natural gas was lower by 7.69% to US$4.08. Overall the CRB Spot Commodities Index was up by 0.22% to end the week at 456.
The Canadian dollar fell by another 1.71% against the American buck to finish the week at US$0.8751.
And the closely watched CBOE Volatility Index or VIX rose by 0.43-point to a slightly more elevated nervous level of 13.33.
And Finally – Despite what many business executives may say about the importance of how deals and decisions get done on the golf course, a recent study by the University of Tennessee found that executives playing more than 22 rounds of golf a year actually have lower operating performance and firm values than their counterparts who spend the time in the office.
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