US crude inventories rise, oil drops 5 per cent
Oil prices slumped Wednesday as data from the US showed another rise in crude inventories, weakening the impact of OPEC’s output cuts.
A drop in crude prices of more than 5 per cent translated to a near-4-per-cent decline for the energy sector of the main TSX index while five other sectors also slipped.
Consumer staples, materials, IT and healthcare performed better but the index closed lower overall.
Wall Street’s three main indexes were also weak although the Nasdaq managed to close flat. European and Asian indexes closed mostly higher.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed 118.8 (0.72 per cent)
The Dow Jones closed down 69.03 (0.33 per cent)
Oil is trending lower (Brent $53.13, WTI $50.24 at 4.15pm)
Gold is trending lower (1208.80 at 4.15pm)
The loonie is valued at U$0.7412
CFCL targeted in hostile bid
Central Fund of Canada is the subject of a hostile takeover bid by rival fund manager Sprott Inc.
The deal would create a new company with the two firms’ holdings exchanged for new units. That would be U$3.1 billion of assets currently under management at CFCL and $9.1 billion currently under management at Sprott.
The Globe and Mail reports that it’s not the first time the Toronto-based Sprott has targeted CFCL; in 2015 it failed to take control of the parent company but acquired its Central GoldTrust fund.
Canadians have fewer credit cards but spending more
Canadians are spending more on their credit cards despite having fewer active cards.
TransUnion says that there were 800,000 fewer open and active credit cards in Canada in 2016 and new credit card applications were down 10 per cent over the first nine months of the year.
However, the average card balance was up by 2.3 per cent to $4,094 in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to a year earlier.
There was also a small rise in delinquencies, driven by 22 per cent increases in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Double-digit non-residential intentions lead permits
Canada’s municipalities approved $7.6 billion of construction permits in January, up 5.4 per cent following two monthly declines.
The rise, reported by Statistics Canada, included an 11.2 per cent increase for non-residential permit issuance, totalling $2.5 billion. Residential permits gained 2.7 per cent, totalling $5.1 billion.