TSX up on positive US retail sales higher oil prices amid concern

TSX up on positive U.S. retail sales, higher oil prices amid concern over Iraq by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 12, 2014 6:49 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed higher Thursday amid unfolding conflict in Iraq that pushed up energy prices and positive economic data from the United States.The S&P/TSX composite index added 17.50 points to 14,909.63. The Canadian dollar gained 0.10 of a cent to 92.12 cents US.In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrials dropped 109.69 points to 16,734.19, the Nasdaq fell 32.99 points to 4,298.94 and the S&P 500 dipped 12.03 points to 1,931.86.Oil prices rose after an al Qaida-inspired group that captured two key cities in Iraq last week vowed to also invade Baghdad.One of those two cities, Mosul, lies in an area that is a major gateway for Iraqi oil. The uncertainty over oil supplies prompted the July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange to jump $2.13 to US$106.53 a barrel.Portfolio manager Kash Pashootan said there is little evidence that demand for oil, particularly from China and the U.S., will rise in the medium to long term, but any kind of international conflict will raise prices.“The market will try to trick us with rising oil prices,” said Pashootan, a vice-president at First Avenue Advisory in Ottawa, a Raymond James company.“But if you look at examples from earlier this year, the major driver for energy prices has been the same factor — geopolitical tension.”The energy sector climbed 1.69 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange. However, gold was the leading advancer, up by 2.73 per cent, as bullion gained $12.80 to US$1,274 an ounce. July copper declined three cents to US$3.02 a pound.Meanwhile, there were more signs of economic improvement in the U.S., as the Commerce Department reported retail sales rose for a fourth consecutive month in May — up 0.3 per cent amid a surge in demand for autos.However sales fell shy of the 0.4 per cent increase that economists had expected.Also, the U.S. Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 317,000.In Canada, the central bank issued a warning about the country’s housing market and the high levels of consumer debt.In its latest semi-annual review, the Bank of Canada said the housing market is showing signs of a soft landing, but it still remains the biggest domestic risk.The comments come as Statistics Canada reported that its new housing price index rose 0.2 per cent in April, following identical increases in both February and March. Meanwhile, the Teranet–National Bank National composite house price index said Canadian home prices were up in May, rising 0.8 per cent over the previous month.On the corporate front, shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) were hammered after it reported a lower first-quarter profit of $18.98 million and cut its outlook for the year. Shares in the company fell nearly than 16 per cent, or $7.05 to close at US$37.25 in New York despite the company announcing it plans on buying back up to US$450 million of its shares.Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story: A previous version incorrectly said the market closed lower. It also incorrectly pegged the Dow close at 16,752.05 read more

Colombian President calls for international support to ensure success of fragile peace

Economic growth is being maintained in the midst of complex regional volatilities, with cities transforming into productive sectors and the middle class expanding. While rising to the challenges of globalization, the Government was also focusing on social justice and bridging social gaps,” he said, and to that end a plan is being developed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.Stressing that peace requires the rule of law, he said his Government will work towards completing the disarmament and reinsertion process, jumpstarted after Colombia signed a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) that ended the Western hemisphere’s longest-running conflictMr. Duque stressed that the peace process his Government inherited was fragile due to a lack of funds and the complex and dispersed institutional architecture, but Colombia will fulfill its commitment vis‑à‑vis those who chose to turn away from violence. “Financial support of the international community will ensure that goal,” he said, adding that the law would be enforced in an exemplary manner.“For peace to shine in Columbia, we must overturn drug trafficking,” he continued. Noting that the recent incremental trafficking increase has become a fuel for organized crime, he expressed his will to break up the transnational crime networks.  Acknowledging that prevention is critical from a public health approach, he also stressed that the drug traffickers were predators. He also stressed the importance of tackling corruption in a determined manner, as it is threat to democracy, social values and institutions.  “From the first day of our Government, we presented measures before Congress”, launching an ambitious initiative supported nationwide.Drawing attention to the situation of Venezuelans fleeing their country, he stressed that Colombia had opened its doors to close to a million of them. The humanitarian crisis in the region was caused by a “dictatorship that annihilates liberties”, Mr. Duque said.  The international community must immediately demand the liberation of political prisoners, he continued, calling for the use of all international mechanisms to denounce, investigate and sanction those responsible for that situation.Full statement (Spanish) available here. read more