Canadian Fertilizer Stocks Decline as Wheat Drops; BCE Advances
Canadian stocks swung between gains and losses as companies including BCE Inc. (BCE) and Finning International Inc. reported earnings that topped analysts’ estimates while fertilizer producers dropped with wheat futures.
BCE, Canada’s largest phone company, rose 2.5 percent. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer producer by market value, dropped 1.5 percent a day after the U.S. Agriculture Department forecast higher suplies than most analysts had estimated. Eastern Platinum Ltd. (ELR), which mines in South Africa, plunged 13 percent after saying striking workers sabotaged equipment.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index gained 9.65 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,429.39 at 2:06 p.m. in Toronto, after falling as much as 1.2 percent.
“For a long time, people said high commodity prices are going to pressure profit margins in the developed world, and that was a negative,” said Murray Leith, a money manager at Odlum Brown Ltd. in Vancouver, which manages C$7.5 billion ($7.8 billion). “When commodities start to do the opposite, I think it’s a positive. Within the market, there are lots of reasonably priced stocks and companies like BCE that had a great quarter.”
The S&P/TSX dropped 4.9 percent this quarter through yesterday after surging 62 percent in the prior two years. Gold has declined from a record and oil from a 31-month high this month as the U.S. Dollar Index has rebounded after five months of losses. The U.S. currency gained on speculation the European Central Bank will be slower than previously forecast to raise interest rates and that Greece may need to restructure its debt.
Finning, which says it is the world’s largest Caterpillar dealer, advanced 8.4 percent to C$28.05, ending a seven-day streak of losses. BCE, Canada’s biggest phone company, increased 2.5 percent to a 29-month high of C$37.85 after raising its 2011 profit forecast. Crescent Point, a western Canadian oil and gas producer, climbed 3.2 percent to C$43.43.
Tim Hortons Inc. (THI), Canada’s largest fast-food chain, dropped 5.2 percent, the most since January 2010, to C$45.37 after its first-quarter profit trailed the average of 12 analyst estimates by 6.4 percent, excluding certain items.
Fertilizer producers dropped as wheat declined to the lowest price since March 31. Potash Corp. lost 1.5 percent to C$49.45. Agrium Inc. (AGU), Canada’s second-largest fertilizer producer, fell 1.2 percent to C$77.23.
Uranium producers retreated as nuclear regulators met in Europe and the U.S. to discuss power-plant safety. Cameco Corp. (CCO), the world’s largest producer of the nuclear fuel, decreased 4.5 percent to C$25.47, the lowest price since August.
Uranium One Inc. (UUU), a producer controlled by Moscow-based ARMZ uranium holding, slumped 5.3 percent to C$3.74 after at least three analysts reduced their 12-month price estimates on the shares. Yesterday, the Vancouver-based company reported quarterly earnings that missed the average analyst estimate by 60 percent, excluding certain items.
Base-metals and coal producers rallied as copper rebounded from a five-month low. Teck Resources Ltd. (TCK/B), Canada’s biggest company in the industry, rose 1.4 percent from a six-month low to C$46.12. Sherritt International Corp. (S) gained 5.2 percent to C$7.43 after surging as much as 6.4 percent, the most intraday since August.
Producers of precious metals advanced as the U.S. dollar fell from a three-week high against a basket of world currencies.
Silver Wheaton Corp. (SLW), Canada’s fourth-largest precious- metals company, increased 2.8 percent to C$33.56. Yamana Gold Inc., the country’s fourth-biggest gold producer, climbed 2 percent to C$11.63. Silver Standard Resources Inc. (SSO), which mines in Latin America, jumped 7.3 percent to C$28.24 after sinking 11 percent yesterday.
Eastern Platinum plunged 13 percent to 90 Canadian cents after earlier today sliding as much as 28 percent, the most since October 2008. The company said it has suspended operations at its Crocodile River Mine after members of the National Union of Mineworkers damaged electrical, pumping and ventilation systems.
Lesiba Seshoka, a National Union of Mineworkers spokeswoman, said by phone that the union is unaware of any property damage at the mine.
Nevsun Resources Ltd. (NSU), which mines precious and base metals in Africa, rallied 6.1 percent to C$5.25 after Rahul Paul, an analyst at Canaccord Financial Inc., raised his rating on the shares to “speculative buy” from “hold.” In a note to clients, Paul said Nevsun’s first-quarter financial results “demonstrate a smooth ramp-up” of its Bisha mine.
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