Africa Oil, AGF in focus
Toronto stock markets rallied slightly early Wednesday, following a more than 1\% bruising on Tuesday, as international events took a toll on higher-risk investment instruments.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 29.94 points to open Wednesday at 14,992.31
The Canadian dollar recovered 0.17 cents at 93.24 cents U.S.
First Quantum has delayed investment projects worth more than $1 billion in Zambia due to uncertainty over the fiscal regime in Africa's second biggest copper producer, a director said on Tuesday. First Quantum shares took on 29 cents soon after the opening bell to $22.41.
The board of Timmins Gold Corp is standing behind the company's management but plans to shake up its own ranks in the midst of a proxy fight with top shareholder Sentry Investments. Timmins Gold eked up three cents to $1.85.
Dundee Capital cut the price target on Africa Oil Corp to $14.70 from $14.80, with a buy rating. Africa Oil fell 30 cents, or nearly 4\%, to $7.25.
NBF cut the rating on AGF Management to sector perform, the price target to $13 from $14. The mutual fund company gave back 15 cents in price per share to $12.13.
The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 3.09 points to 1,013.49
All but four of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher in the first hour, led by gold stocks, charging ahead 0.9\%, materials, better by 0.6\%, and energy, stronger by 0.5\%.
The four laggards were weighed mostly by information technology stocks, down 0.6\%, health-care, off 0.4\%, and consumer staples, down 0.3\%.
U.S. equity markets are all flat to slightly positive Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrials took on 23.37 points to open at 16,841.50
The S&P 500 inched up 1.62 points to 1,951.60, and the NASDAQ composite eked up 2.48 points to 4,352.84
Barnes and Noble shares soared after the struggling bookseller said it has begun taking steps to separate its retail and Nook segments. The stock is up over 9\%.
General Mills stooped after the cereal maker reported disappointing earnings that were stymied by expensive promotional activity that didn't translate into greater sales.
Apollo Education ticked up after the for-profit college operator beat earnings estimates. Still, the company said degree enrollment sank significantly at the University of Phoenix.
Shares of Hanesbrands jumped after the company said it planned to acquire French apparel-maker DBA Apparel in an all-cash deal. Mergers and acquisitions activity has spiked this year as companies try to capitalize on their high stock prices by using the cash to buy other companies.
Economically speaking, the U.S. Commerce Department said the economy shrank 2.9\% in the first quarter, even uglier than the 1.8\% decline that economists had predicted.
Analysts were expecting a weak final figure for the period, which included unusually harsh winter weather. In that regard, investors are largely shrugging off the bad news, and have donned their forward-thinking caps.
Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries hiked, lowering yields to 2.54\% from Tuesday's 2.59\%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices inched up six cents to $106.09 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices fell $2.90 at $1,318.40 U.S. an ounce.