Canada Stocks Little Changed Amid U.S. GDP Data; TransAlta Gains
Canadian stocks were little changed, with the benchmark index capping its second weekly loss this month, as commodity shares slumped while phone companies rallied amid a better-than-expected growth report from the U.S., the nation’s biggest trading partner.
Technology and raw-materials producers erased more than 0.3 percent for the biggest losses among 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index. TransAlta (TA) Corp. rallied 3.4 percent after Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. agreed to fund half the cost of natural gas-fueled power plants built or bought by the Calgary-based company in Canada. Whitecap Resources Inc. (WCP) jumped 6.2 percent after an analyst predicted a dividend next year.
The S&P/TSX (SPTSX) added 0.07 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 12,300.30 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The index lost 0.9 percent for the week and is down 0.1 percent in October, poised to end four consecutive months of gains.
“You’re seeing some reflection on the GDP number out of the States, which is considered good,” Greg Eckel, a Toronto- based fund manager with Morgan Meighen & Associates, said in a phone interview. His firm manages about C$1 billion ($1 billion). “It’s a signpost as to where we’ve been. This number is probably anticipated in the run-up of the market. It’s confirmation that maybe it’s right, rather than wrong.”
U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter after climbing 1.3 percent in the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures showed. Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected a gain of 1.8 percent.
Gold fell for the third straight week, capping the longest slump in 13 months. Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) dropped 0.3 percent to C$39.12.
TransAlta gained 3.4 percent to C$15.73. The company and its partner MidAmerican Energy didn’t provide a value on the venture or planned spending on natural gas-fueled power plants. They estimate Canada needs almost $200 billion in new investment over the next 20 years in the electricity generation market.
Whitecap rallied 6.2 percent to C$7.94, the highest price since May 11. The oil and gas company agreed to sell non-core assets for C$56.4 million and said it increased a credit facility 13 percent to C$450 million. The chance that the company will announce a dividend next year is “even higher,” Jim Byrne, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note.
Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI/B) climbed 1.7 percent to C$44.18, the highest price since May 2008. Canada’s largest wireless operator was boosted to neutral from sell by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The company’s third-quarter results, released on Oct. 24, “demonstrated Rogers’ ability to not only execute on cost controls, but drive improvements on the top line,” analyst Matthew Niknam wrote in a note dated yesterday.
Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (BIN) slipped 4.1 percent, the most since April 27, to C$19.07. The trash hauler reduced its full-year profit forecast, saying it now expects to earn C$1 a share at most. Analysts, on average, estimated C$1.05, according to a Bloomberg survey.
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