Closing Bell TSX ends 2013 trading on a high note nets 955

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Tuesday as investors closed the books on a year that saw a solid advance.The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 40.16 points to 13,621.55 with gains for the day led by the battered gold sector, by far the biggest loser on the Toronto market this year.The TSX ended 2013 up 9.55% for the year, with the advance racked up over the last five months.“The back half of the year was really the inflection point,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.He observed that was the point where the market started to transition from one that was driven by central bank stimulus to an environment where investors started to focus more on economic fundamentals.“And that’s a healthy transition,” added Fehr.The Canadian dollar closed up 0.04 of a cent to 94.02 cents US.U.S. indexes also ended the year higher as traders digested a mixed bag of data on home prices, consumer confidence and manufacturing.The Dow Jones industrials rose 72.37 points to a new closing high of 16,576.66, adding up to a gain of 26.5% for 2013. The Nasdaq was ahead 22.39 points to 4,176.59, up 38% this year to its highest level in 13 years. The S&P 500 index was up 7.29 points to 1,848.36 for a gain of 29% for 2013, its best year since 1997.The gains on the final trading day of the year came as Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.2% from September to October, down from a 0.7% increase from August to September, as higher mortgage rates weighed on sales and dampened the housing recovery.For the year, U.S. home prices reflected big gains in earlier months. They rose 13.6% over the past 12 months, the fastest pace since February 2006 — before the U.S. real estate crash.Other data showed the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, a key reading on manufacturing in the American Midwest, slowed during this month, falling to 59.1 from 63.Also, the U.S. Conference Board said its consumer confidence index for December came in 78.1, up sharply from 72 in November.TSX gains for the year would have been greater if not for deep losses in the mining sectors. The gold sector fell about 48% for the year while the precious metal has fallen about 28%, the first annual loss since 2000.Gold prices have taken a big hit this year as the global economy gradually improved and the U.S. Federal Reserve made moves to cut back on its monthly bond purchases, a key area of stimulus.On Tuesday, the gold sector was the major advancer, up just over 2% while the February contract on the Nymex shed early losses to move up $1.50 to US$1,202.30 an ounce. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) climbed 51 cents to C$18.71.In addition to the big losses in gold, the base metals component has retreated 21% as an uneven global recovery kept the lid on commodity prices.The base metals group was also ahead 0.77% on Tuesday with March copper up a penny at US$3.40 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) was ahead 35 cents to C$27.65.Outside of the mining sectors, most TSX sectors did quite well for the year.“Roughly half of the TSX sectors are up double digits or more for the year,” said Fehr.“And when you look at industrials, consumer discretionary, there are some very strong gains and I think the investments that were really tied to fundamental growth, better manufacturing, consumer spending around the world, those are areas that did exceptionally well.”Financials were up 22% for the year. Insurance companies were particularly strong performers as companies benefited from strong stock market gains and rising bond yields.Industrials also had a good year, up about 35% as railroad stocks shot ahead, helped along in large part by rising shipments of crude oil. Fresh questions about rail transport safety for crude will be asked after a 1.6-kilometre-long train carrying crude oil derailed outside of the town of Casselton, North Dakota on Monday. BNSF Railway Co. said it believes about 20 cars caught fire after its oil train left the tracks Monday afternoon.The consumer discretion sector jumped about 40%. Many stocks almost doubled over the past 52 weeks, including auto parts makers Magna International (TSX:MG), Linamar Corp. (TSX:LNR) and Martinrea International (TSX:MRE).The TSX energy sector was ahead 0.47% Tuesday, for a gain of about 9.5% for the year. The February crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed 87 cents lower to US$98.42 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) advanced 36 cents to C$35.94.Most TSX sectors were positive but the tech sector shed 0.3%. However, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) gained 18 cents to $7.90, a long way from its 52-week high of $18.49. Prices started to plummet mid-year when it became apparent its new lineup of smartphones had widely missed expectations.The Canadian Press read more

Venezuela crisis Russian military planes land near Caracas

A Russian aircraft was pictured at an airport near Caracas on Sunday (Reuters)(BBC) Two Russian military planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday, reportedly carrying dozens of troops and large amounts of equipment.The planes were sent to “fulfil technical military contracts”, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.Javier Mayorca, a Venezuelan journalist, wrote on Twitter that he saw about 100 troops and 35 tonnes of equipment offloaded from the planes.It comes three months after the two nations held joint military exercises.Russia has long been an ally of Venezuela, lending the South American nation billions of dollars and backing its oil industry and military. Russia has also vocally opposed moves from the US to sanction the government of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.Mr Mayorca said on Twitter that a Russian air force Antonov-124 cargo plane and a smaller jet landed near Caracas on Saturday.He said that Russian General Vasily Tonkoshkurov led the troops off one of the planes.A military plane with a Russian flag on its fuselage could be seen on the tarmac at an airport on Sunday. Images on social media also appeared to show Russian troops gathered at the airport.Ties between Moscow and Venezuela have strengthened in recent months, amid worsening relations between the US and Venezuela. In December, Russia sent two air force jets there as part of a military exercise.Russia has condemned other foreign powers for backing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January.President Maduro has accused Mr Guaidó of trying to mount a coup against him with the help of “US imperialists”.The Kremlin echoed that line, accusing Mr Guaidó of an “illegal attempt to seize power” backed by the United States and pledging to do “everything required” to support Mr Maduro.A message to WashingtonRussia is intent on demonstrating the limits of US policy towards Venezuela.The Trump administration is pushing for regime change and the re-establishment of democracy.But Moscow – a long-standing ally of the Venezuelan authorities – has provided the embattled Maduro regime with diplomatic, economic and military support.Last December two Russian Tu-160 long-range bombers touched down in Caracas prompting a war of words between Washington and Moscow. There have been joint military exercises too.While it is not clear what equipment these latest military flights may have been carrying, they send an additional message to Washington.Mr Trump has refused to rule out military action against the Maduro government.The Russian President Vladimir Putin is putting down another marker, emphasising that Venezuela is Russia’s ally and it is not going to give up this small foothold in Latin America.It is another example of Mr Putin applying limited means to challenge US policy goals. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedRussia deploys two bombers to Venezuela for exercisesDecember 10, 2018In “Regional”US-Russian spat over bombers landing in VenezuelaDecember 11, 2018In “World”Latest developments in Venezuela with Russian bombers being monitored- GovtDecember 13, 2018In “latest news” read more

Taxi driver arraigned with wifes murder

Gavin Gill who brutally hacked his wife to death on Saturday last was earlier today arraigned with the heinous crime when he appeared at the Albion Magistrate’s Court.He was not required to plead to the indictable charge which stated that on March 30, he murdered Omawattie Gill at Dr Tutsi Street, Williamsburg, Corentyne Berbice.Murder accused, Gavin GillThe father of three broke down in tears as he stood before Magistrate Renita Singh. As he leaves the dock, he requested the magistrate to grant permission for him to see his wife’s face. But the magistrate told him that she could not grant the request since she does not know where the body was kept.Police Prosecutor Inspector Althia Solomon told the court that she was ready to commence the Preliminary Inquiry and as such, the magistrate set April 23 for commencement.The mother of one who is also referred to “Agile” of Lot 33 D Williamsburg, Rose Hall Town, Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) have been living at Port Mourant Village with the suspect for the past year but she recently moved to her mother’s Williamsburg, Rose Hall Town, home after her husband became abusive.It was reported that the young mother moved out with her seven-month-old baby from the matrimonial home about two weeks ago.She secured a job as a sales clerk at a hardware store. However, on her way to work on Saturday, she was struck her down by her husband while riding a bicycle. The man then exited the car with a knife and stabbed her several times before chopping her with a cutlass. He was subsequently arrested by members of a police patrol unit. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCorentyne man arraigned for wife’s murderOctober 20, 2016In “Court”Belvedere man arraigned for neighbour’s murderNovember 7, 2016In “Court”MP urges abused women to seek helpMay 28, 2019In “Crime” read more