Most Canadian stocks rose, led by banks and insurers, after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden and a gauge of U.S. manufacturing dropped less than most economists had forecast.
Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), North America’s fourth-largest insurer, advanced 3 percent after U.S. President Barack Obama said Osama bin Laden is dead. Silver Wheaton Corp. (SLW), Canada’s fourth-biggest precious-metals company, tumbled 6.7 percent after CME Group Inc. raised the amount of cash that traders must deposit for speculative positions in silver. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX), Canada’s largest drugmaker, slumped 5.5 percent after Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. outbid it for Cephalon Inc.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index slipped 10.28 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,934.51 as the plunge in precious metals outweighed gains in other stocks. Among S&P/TSX companies, 126 advanced, 114 declined and eight were unchanged.
“The whole thing with Osama bin Laden is definitely a positive,” said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Russell Investments Canada, which manages C$12 billion ($12.6 billion). “People will be able to put this behind them now and focus on the economy.”
The S&P/TSX lost 1 percent with dividends included last month, its first negative total return since June.
Energy producers and banks led the retreat last month as data and forecasts indicated a slowing economic recovery, especially in the U.S. The Canadian stock benchmark’s price relative to earnings climbed to an eight-year high in April versus the price-earnings ratio of the S&P 500.
The Institute for Supply Management’s measure of U.S. manufacturing fell to 60.4 last month from 61.2 in March, the Temple, Arizona-based organization said. Economists had forecast a reading of 59.5, according to the median of 78 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
The S&P/TSX Financials Index gained the most in seven days.
Manulife increased 3 percent to C$17.50. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Canada’s third-largest lender by assets, climbed 1.2 percent to C$58.40. National Bank of Canada (NA), the No. 6 bank in the country, rose 1.7 percent to C$79.65.
TransCanada Corp. (TRP), the owner of Canada’s largest pipeline system, gained 2.2 percent, the most in almost a year, to C$41.62 as at least six analysts boosted their share-price estimates. On April 29, the Calgary-based company reported first-quarter profit and revenue that topped the average analyst forecast.
Silver fell more than 10 percent in after-market trading after the CME, the parent of the Comex exchange, raised initial margins by 13 percent.
Silver Wheaton Corp., Canada’s fourth-largest precious- metals producer by market value, decreased 6.7 percent to C$35.93. Silver Standard Resources Inc. (SSO), which mines in Latin America, tumbled 9.6 percent, the most in 26 months, to C$29.76. Silvercorp Metals Inc. (SVM), which operates in China, sank 9.4 percent, the most since July 2009, to C$11.67.
Gold futures declined in after-market trading as the U.S. dollar advanced against a basket of world currencies for the first time in 10 days. Goldcorp Inc. (G), the world’s second-largest gold producer, lost 5.2 percent, the most since July, to C$50.12. Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX), the world’s biggest producer of the metal, decreased 2.2 percent to C$47.24.
Centerra Gold Inc. (CG), which mines in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, increased 6.3 percent to C$18.70 after its first-quarter profit beat the average of nine analyst estimates by 74 percent, excluding certain items. The company also raised its annual dividend by 67 percent to 10 Canadian cents a share and said it will pay a special dividend of 30 Canadian cents a share.
Valeant sank 5.5 percent, the most since June 2009, to C$47.18 after Cephalon agreed to be bought by Petah Tikvah, Israel-based Teva for $81.50 a share. Valeant had made an unsolicited offer of $73 a share in March for Frazer, Pennsylvania-based Cephalon.
Trucking company TransForce Inc. (TFI) surged 6 percent to C$14.94, the highest close since May 2007. David F. Newman, an analyst at Cormark Securities Inc., raised his rating on the shares to “buy” from “market perform” a business day after the Saint-Laurent, Quebec-based company said it will buy DHL Express Canada’s domestic business.
In a note to clients, Newman said the deal will provide “pricing improvement, scale efficiencies and revenue and cost synergies.”
Extendicare Real Estate Investment Trust (EXE-U), which owns 265 senior-care centers in the U.S. and Canada, lost 4.7 percent to C$11.33 to extend its two-day retreat to 14 percent. The shares tumbled after the U.S. Health & Human Services Department proposed a rate cut for skilled-nursing facilities on April 29.
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