Oil rebounds, financials help TSX to 5-month high... Wholesale trade dropped in February... Improving affordability in 60 per cent of housing markets... Canadian Pacific profits means fast track for dividends...
Oil prices started the day lower as the Kuwait oil workers’ strike ended; but ended the session up almost 4 per cent as US data showed a lower-than-expected build in crude inventory. There was also speculation that there could be further producer talks ahead, although this was denied by Russia.
Financials and energy stocks helped the TSX gain and close the session slightly higher. Wall Street also finished with slim gains.
Asian markets were mixed, having closed before oil rebounded; Europe closed higher.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 44.01 (0.32 per cent)
The Dow Jones closed up 42.67 (0.24 per cent)
Oil is trending higher (Brent $45.40, WTI $42.74 at 4.10pm)
Gold is trending lower (1246.80 at 4.10pm)
The loonie is valued at U$0.7909
Wholesale trade dropped in February
Canada’s wholesale sales decreased 2.2 per cent to $55.8 billion in February after three consecutive increases. Statistics Canada reported that sales were down in five of seven subsectors, accounting for 66 per cent of total wholesale sales. In volume terms, wholesale sales declined 1.9 per cent. All provinces saw lower sales with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador which increased sales by 1.7 per cent following three consecutive declines.
Improving affordability in 60 per cent of housing markets
Housing affordability has improved in 6 out of 10 markets analyzed for a report from National Bank. Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa-Gatineau saw the greatest improvements but the national figure, showing the proportion of income needed for average home mortgage payments, edged 0.1 per cent higher. This was driven by the increasing prices in Vancouver and Toronto.
Canadian Pacific profits means fast track for dividends
Canadian Pacific Railway is increasing its quarterly dividend by 40 per cent to 50 cents per share following a rise in profits. The railway earned $540 million in the first quarter of 2016, despite the slower pace of the economy. The same period last year produced $320 million. Revenue was slightly reduced though from $1.67 billion in Q1 2015 to $1.59 billion in Q1 2016.