Toronto stocks have turned into positive territory in afternoon trading on Thursday. Strength in the technology and financial sectors has outweighed the impact of lower gold prices.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index has added 61.84 points or 0.66% to move at 9,308.73. Bay Street's index is on pace to again extend a three-month closing high.
Technology stocks are up 2.7%, led by a 6% surge for Research in Motion (RIM.TO). The Blackberry-maker is up as rival Nokia said it expects second quarter worldwide mobile device volume to be flat or show modest sequential growth.
Financials are showing a 1.5% gain after JPMorgan Chase & Co. beat analysts' expectations in the first quarter. Among Canadian big banks, Royal Bank (RY.TO) has added 2.1%, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is up 2% and Toronto-Dominion (TD.TO) has gained 1.4%.
On the downside, gold stocks have dropped 5% and materials stocks have lost 3.5%. June-dated gold declined $13.70 to close at $879.80 an ounce on the Comex. Seabridge (SEA.TO) has declined 7.7%, Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is and Goldcorp (G.TO) are both down 7.4% and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) has dropped 5.8%..
In other corporate news, AbitibiBowater (ABH.TO) has lost 1.6% as the company announced it will file for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Canada.
Tembec (TMB.TO) has surged 14.7%. The company said its subsidiary, Tembec USA LLC, sold its idled coated paper mill located in St. Francisville, Louisiana to West Feliciana Acquisition, LLC. The mill was indefinitely idled in July 2007.
Cangene Corp. (CNJ.TO) has slipped 3.6% after the company said that the Chemical Biological Medical Systems Project Management Office of the United States Department of Defense has signed an agreement to purchase Cangene's Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human).
Novadaq Technologies (NDQ.TO) has added 3.4% after the company said it has received a $1 million payment from Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) for achieving the first pre-defined milestone outlined in the terms of their License and Development Agreement signed in January 2009.
On the economic front, Canadian manufacturing sales increased 2.2% to $42.9 billion, the first increase since July 2008, according to Statistics Canada. Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts industries in Ontario were behind most of the gains in February, following widespread slowdowns and shutdowns in January. Excluding motor vehicles and parts and accessories, manufacturing sales edged down 0.2%, the seventh monthly decline in a row.
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