Canadian stocks climbed, after a two-day slump sent the benchmark index to the lowest level of the year, as a rise in industrial stocks offset declines in financial and utilities shares.
BlackBerry Ltd. rose 5.6 percent after CIBC World Markets analysts said the company’s operating expenses may be lower than forecasts. WestJet Airlines Ltd. added 3.4 percent after boosting its dividend. Crew Energy Inc. climbed 6.7 percent as natural-gas prices jumped. Silver Standard Resources Inc. fell 1.9 percent after agreeing to buy a mine from Goldcorp Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 18.28 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,504.48 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The gauge has dropped 3.5 percent since closing Jan. 20 at 13,990.29, the highest level since April 2011. Trading in S&P/TSX stocks was 7.8 percent higher than the 30-day average at the close.
“There’s not much movement in any sector today,” Gareth Watson, vice president of investment management and research at Richardson GMP Ltd., which oversees C$28 billion ($25 billion), said by phone from Toronto. “It’s been a flat day relative to what you’re seeing in other markets. Our markets haven’t pulled back as much as the U.S., so you haven’t seen the same amount of movement today on our side of the border.”
About $2.9 trillion has been wiped from the value of equities worldwide this year, following the biggest rally in four years in 2013, as China’s growth slows, the Federal Reserve cuts stimulus and anti-government protests spread in emerging markets from Thailand to Ukraine.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index retreated 1 percent today, extending this year’s slide to 8.5 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.8 percent after sinking 2.3 percent yesterday. European stocks fell 0.2 percent after earlier losses of as much as 0.8 percent.
Canadian equities have declined 0.9 percent since the beginning of the year, making it the seventh-best performer among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg. Last year, the S&P/TSX rose 9.6 percent, the fourth-worst performance among developed markets, ahead of Austria, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Five of 10 main industries in the index advanced today. Industrials climbed 0.9 percent and raw-material producers increased 0.5 percent. Energy shares rose 0.4 percent.
BlackBerry jumped 5.6 percent to C$10.64, ending a three-day losing streak of 9.4 percent. CIBC analyst Todd Coupland wrote that the smartphone maker sees itself becoming cash-flow positive by the fourth quarter of 2015. BlackBerry’s quarterly expenses may fall to $500 million from about $900 million, Coupland wrote.
WestJet surged 3.4 percent to C$25.70. The carrier raised its dividend for the fourth time in less than three years after reporting an 11 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit as it flew more passengers.
WestJet is also pressing ahead with a plan to cut C$100 million in expenses by the end of 2014, a year ahead of schedule, Gregg Saretsky, chief executive officer, said on a conference call with analysts.
Crew Energy increased 6.7 percent to C$7.37, the highest level since March, as the price of natural gas in Canada surged.
Silver Standard dropped 1.9 percent to C$8.39. The explorer of the precious metal will purchase the Marigold mine in Nevada for $275 million. Goldcorp rose 1.2 percent to C$27.82, while Barrick fell 1 percent to C$21.21.
Atlantic Power Corp. slipped 2.6 percent to C$2.62, bringing losses this week to 10 percent. Yesterday, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the energy producer’s corporate family rating to B2 from B1, citing high leverage.