The new trading week began on Monday, September 15th with the markets correcting and investors very nervous about the upcoming U.S. Fed’s meeting, the Scottish independence referendum, the Russian/Ukraine situation and escalating terrorism in the Middle East. Oh well, at least we still had the summer weather to make us feel better, (sorry Calgary).
Canadian’s home piggybanks continued to grow as the Canadian Real Estate Association reported that the price of the average home rose by 5.3% over the past year to August to $398,618.
WestJet Airlines (WJA-T) did the number crunching and announced they were going to charge $25 for the first piece of checked luggage on their economy flights, which Canaccord Genuity calculated would bring Canada’s second largest airline an extra $96-million-a-year in bottom line revenue.
Apple Inc. (AAPL-Q) had a good day with the announcement they had received a record 4-million first day orders for their new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones.
And technology remained a hot sector when Microsoft Inc. (MSFT-Q) agreed to pay US$2.5-billion in cash for Mojang AB, the developer of the highly successful videogame ‘Minecraft’.
Atlantic Power (ATP-T) shares’ took a 33% tumble to $2.82 on Tuesday, September 16th when the company announced its strategic review process did not did not produce a sale or merger option and that it would continue to operate independently going forward.
Conversely, the share price of Carfinco Financial Group (CFN-T) surged up by over 32% to $11.35 Spanish bank Banco Santandsr (SAN-N) was purchasing the independent Canadian auto financing company in an all-cash deal of some $298-million.
U.S Steel Corp. (X-N) which entered the Canadian steel market in 2007 with the takeover of the country’s iconic steelmaker Stelco Inc., has applied for bankruptcy protection for its U.S. Steel Canada unit under Canada’s Companies Creditors Act.
Are corporations helping to make their own stock price move higher? Perhaps so, as Birinyi Associates and the Wall Street Journal report that a 6-year high 740 American firms have purchased a 7-year record US$338.3-billion of their own shares in the first half of 2014.
The American markets rallied and resource prices tumbled on Wednesday, September 17th after U.S. Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen assured the market that interest rates would stay at current record lows as they phased out quantitative easing in 2015.
Oncolytics Biotech (ONC-T) shares’ plunged by over 37% to $0.88 after the pharmaceutical company released disappointing results from Phase II testing of its pancreatic cancer drug Reolysin.
Conversely, the share price of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL-Q) surged up by almost 46% to US$31.38 on word they were to taken over by Endo International (ENDP-Q) in a cash & stock deal worth some US$2.2-billion.
Approval of the controversial cross border Keystone pipeline may have been held up for some 6-years now, but that hasn’t slowed the flow of crude oil from Canada to the south as the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced the amount of oil that crossed the border has risen by 20% in the past year to 2.994-million barrel-a-day.
Air Canada (AC.B-T) was a little slower in doing the math, but not to let a cash cow pass them by, the matched WestJet’s move of a couple of days ago and announced on Thursday, September 18th that they too would charge $25 on the first bag checked on their domestic economy flights. ( And they say it is a fee and true marketplace).
Western Canada’s largest independent gasoline retailer, Parkland Fuel (PKI-T) announced they were moving east by acquiring the Pioneer Group and their 393 Ontario and Manitoba service station in a cash & stock deal worth some $378-million.
All other market activity of Friday, September 19th took a back seat to the American record US$21.88-billion initial public offering (IPO) of China’s internet giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. (BABA-N). And the internet search/commerce company that handles about 80% of that country’s e-commerce didn’t disappoint as its price soared by some $25.89 over the IPO price to end the day at US$93.89.
55% of the Scottish people voted to remain within the United Kingdom.
Statistics Canada reported that the country’s Consumer Price Index or CPI rose by a greater than expected 0.5% in Aught to a higher than expected 2.1% over the same month one year ago.
Two of the American markets rallied to establish new record highs during the week with the DJIA rising to a new record closing high of 17,280 and the S&P 500 reaching a new all-time closing high of 2,011.
Loblaw Companies (L-T) at $58.17, Molson Coors Canada (TPX.A-T) at $86.00 and WestJet Airlines (WJA-T) at $33.33 all hit new 52-week TSX trading highs, while TransAlta Inc. (TA-T) at $11.45, Trinidad Drilling (TDG-T) at $8.51 and Talisman Energy (TPH-T) at $10.20 all set new 52-week trading lows.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials gained 1.72% to 17,280, with the S&P 500 Index up by 1.25% to 2,010 and the NASDAQ Exchange ahead by 0.53% to 4,568. To the resource reliant north, the TSX Composite Index lost 1.71% to 15,266 and the lowly TSX Venture Exchange fell by 3.21% to 956.
Crude oil improved by 0.61% to US$91.32, with natural gas unchanged at US$3.91 and copper off by 0.64% to US$3.09. Overall, the CRB Spot Commodity Index lost 1.44% to 478.
The Canadian dollar rose by 1.31% against the U.S. buck to end the week at US$91.32.
And the closely watched CBOE Volatility Index or VIX dropped by 1.2-points to finish the week at a much calmer level of 12.11.
And Finally – In an effort to break out of its continued sales slump, McDonald’s Corp (MCD-N) is experimenting with breaking on from their traditional business to find a way to allow customers to choose their own toppings on their hamburgers.
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