TSX closes flat on lower energy stocks, profit taking
Lower oil prices and profit taking saw the Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index stay mainly lower Friday before closing flat. On Wall Street a much anticipated speech from Fed chair Janet Yellen had little impact. She gave little away by confirming that an interest rate rise would be appropriate this year if the economy improves. Asian markets closed Friday with gains; Shanghai hit a 7-year record while Tokyo set a 15-year record as the Bank of Japan voted to maintain stimulus. In Europe markets closed mixed ahead of Janet Yellen’s speech, which took place after the region’s markets had ended. A speech by ECB president Mario Draghi spoke of better times ahead and the best outlook for the Eurozone for 7 years; although mixed data and Greek debt continue to create doubts about that
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 2.85 (0.02 per cent)
The NYSE closed lower.
Oil is trending lower (Brent $65.56, WTI $59.89 at 4.05pm)
Gold is trending higher.
The loonie is valued at U$0.8127 (at 4.05pm)
Food, shelter more expensive but inflation stays low
Canada’s consumer price index rose by 0.8 per cent in April as all sectors increased; except for transportation due to lower oil prices. Food was 3.6 per cent more expensive than a year earlier with meat surging by 11.2 per cent and fresh vegetables by 4.3 per cent. Shelter costs also increased although by just 0.5 per cent, the smallest amount since March 2010. Clothing was up by 1.3 per cent year-over-year. The transportation index fell by 4.2 per cent in the year to April with gasoline prices down 21 per cent and fuel oil down 20 per cent.
Oil industry calls for carbon tax
It may sound surprising but Canada’s largest oil and gas suppliers want increased environmental policies and a carbon tax in Alberta. There is, however, a twist. While the heavyweight names backing the moves include Suncor and Cenovus, they want new policies and taxes to apply to all, including consumers. That would mean additional costs for drivers filling up at the pumps, household heating and electricity bills and anything else that adds to the provinces carbon emissions.
Blackberry CEO takes 96 per cent pay cut; still earns 7 figures
John Chen, CEO of Blackberry, has taken a 96 per cent pay cut. The Huffington Post reveals that figures filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission show Mr Chen’s compensation for the 2015 fiscal year at U$3.4 million. While that may sound like a healthy sum it’s small change compared to the $85.7 million he received in the previous year. However, things are not so bad for the boss as that previous year amount included stocks which have gained in value and are now worth $104 million.
US dollar stores are coming
An invasion of dollar stores from south of the border could be on the cards according to retail experts. While domestic firm Dollarama is still growing, the US firms such as Family Dollar and Dollar Tree are eyeing Canada as ripe for expansion. Moody’s and TD Economics have both forecast a squeeze on retail spending this week; Moody’s said that it expects any increase in spare household cash to go towards debt repayment rather than retail.