TSX rises amid Canadian economic growth data

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market registered a solid gain Friday amid data showing rising Canadian economic growth, while U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke kept the door open for another round of economic stimulus.The S&P/TSX composite index rose 86.08 points to 11,972.73, while the TSX Venture Exchange was 8.9 points higher at 1,226.87.The Canadian dollar was off early highs as the greenback strengthened on doubts about further stimulus. However, the loonie was still up 0.59 of a cent to 101.37 cents US as Statistics Canada said gross domestic product increased by 0.2% in June, against the 0.1% rise that economists had expected. This translated into a 0.5% gain for the second quarter with growth helped along by rising business investment.The agency reported that GDP expanded at an annual rate of 1.8% in the April-June period, slightly better than the 1.7% pace recorded in the U.S.U.S. indexes maintained a strong advance as Bernanke told an audience at the Fed’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that the Fed will act to promote growth as needed.The Dow Jones industrials moved up 137.18 points to 13,137.89. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 26.64 points to 3,075.35 and the S&P 500 index rose 12.02 points to 1,411.5.Traders had been encouraged for much of August that signs of a slowing global economy in mid-summer indicated that central banks would step in with more stimulus to keep the recovery on track.Hopes had risen in particular after the release last week of minutes from the last Fed interest rate meeting Aug. 1 which said a growing number of members wanted to see the central bank do more to help the U.S. economy. And there had been speculation Bernanke would use Friday’s much-anticipated speech to signal more assistance, possibly in the form of further quantitative easing. This involves the Fed printing more money to buy bonds.But economic data released since then, including better than expected job creation in July, rising retail sales and a recovering housing sector, actually point to a strengthening economy, meaning the Fed could find it hard to justify more easing, analysts say.“I think this is what Fed governors are saying, the conditions are just not in place for massive further stimulus,” said John Tsagarelis, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.Bernanke suggested Friday that the Fed will consider further steps to boost the economy, which he describes as “far from satisfactory.”The Fed has its next interest rate announcement Sept. 14 and prior to that is the release next Friday of the U.S. non-farm payrolls for August. Job creation data for July beat expectations.Traders also looked ahead to the European Central Bank’s interest rate announcement on Thursday. There are expectations that the ECB will announce it is moving to help the most vulnerable members of the eurozone by controlling borrowing costs that ran ahead to unsustainable levels in Spain and Italy earlier this summer but have since retreated somewhat.ECB president Mario Draghi had sought to reassure markets at the beginning of this month, saying the ECB was prepared to do everything possible within its mandate to protect the euro currency union.The TSX energy sector rose 1.1% as oil prices moved higher with the October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead $1.30 at US$95.92 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) rose 48 cents to $30.35.Kuwait’s state-owned petroleum company has reportedly signed a preliminary deal to invest as much as $4-billion in a joint venture with Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH).The Globe and Mail says officials of Kuwait Petroleum Corp. have a memorandum of understanding for an investment to develop some of Athabasca’s oilsands properties in northern Alberta. Trading in Athabasca shares was halted before the open. The stock closed Thursday at $12.51.The base metals sector was ahead two per cent as copper turned negative, down one cent to US$3.43 a pound. But the sector was still ahead 0.5% and First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) advanced 78 cents to $19.07.The gold sector charged ahead two per cent while December bullion rose $18.50 to US$1,675.60 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) advanced $1.09 to $40.25.Financials were also positive amid two well-received earnings reports.National Bank of Canada reported after the close Thursday that quarterly profits grew by 13 per cent to $379-million. Adjusting for one-time items, it earned $353-million, or $1.98 per diluted share, up from $334-million and beating analyst estimates by eight cents. However, unlike the five big banks that also reported this week, National is not upping its dividend. Its shares were ahead 25 cents at $75.37.Canada’s five largest banks earned $7.8-billion in cumulative profits in the last quarter.And on Friday, Laurentian Bank of Canada (TSX:LB) earned net income of $30-million, or $1.06 diluted per share, in the quarter ended July 31. That was up from $29.1-million, or $1.08 diluted per share, in the same year-earlier period. Adjusted diluted earnings were $1.27 per share, up from $1.08. Its shares climbed 53 cents to $47.04.European bourses were higher as London’s FTSE 100 index gained 0.16%, Frankfurt’s DAX was up 0.87% and the Paris CAC 40 climbed 1.17%.The Canadian Press read more

Make every day a day for girls in ICT says UN

“Each time we introduce more women to the world of ICTs, not only do we take one more step towards achieving gender equality, but we accelerate socio-economic development for all,” said Brahima Sanou, the Director of Telecommunication Development at the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU).“In many countries, we are starting to see International Girls in ICT Day initiatives moving from one-day events to sustained, on-going programmes to teach girls about ICTs throughout the year.”Held annually on the fourth Thursday in April, the International Day recognizes the importance of young women in science, technology, engineering and math, and to inform them of the vast potential in these fields.Since its inception, over 300,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 9,000 celebrations of International Day in 166 countries worldwide.Click here to see this year’s commemorative events around the world.“The International Girls in ICT Day has become a global movement in which more girls and young women are learning about the wide range of fascinating opportunities ICT careers can offer,” said Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of ITU.“It is essential that the public and private sectors, as well as academia, and civil society seize the momentum created by the International Day to leapfrog the number of girls pursuing careers in technology.” read more