TSX higher as World Bank sees global economy picking up in 2014

Canadian stocks advanced on Wednesday amid a positive forecast on the global economy.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 52.72 points to 13,745.1.The Canadian dollar drifted 0.07 of a cent lower to 91.39 cents US.U.S. indexes were higher amid a strong earnings report from Bank of America and a much better than expected reading on manufacturing in the U.S. Northeast.The Empire manufacturing survey beat expectations, rising to 12.5 in January, from a revised 2.2 in December. The survey showed significant improvements in balances for new orders, shipments and employee numbers.Traders also took in data from the World Bank showing the global economy is slowly picking up steam.The bank’s twice-yearly Global Economics Prospects report says global growth is expected to rise from 2.4 per cent in 2013 to 3.2 per cent this year and 3.4 per cent in 2015.The Dow Jones industrials gained 87.86 points to 16,461.72, the Nasdaq was ahead 26.59 points to 4,209.61 and the S&P 500 index was up 8.51 points to 1,847.39.Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank, earned US$3.44 billion or 29 cents a share in the October to December period, up from $732 million a year earlier. The showing beat forecasts by two cents amid a big improvement in loan loss provisions. It shares were up 60 cents to US$17.37.Traders also awaited the afternoon release of the latest take on the economy by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The Fed has already started to taper its massive monthly bond purchases to $75 billion a month, down from $85 billion, but has said further tapering will depend on economic performance, particularly jobs data.Uncertainty about Fed intentions arose after December jobs data released last Friday came far below expectations.Corporate earnings are the other big issue for markets as fourth quarter data starts to come in.The S&P 500 rocketed about 30 per cent last year, helped in large measure by Fed stimulus. Investors now want to see if strong earnings and revenue can justify that gain and push stock prices higher.Techs led TSX advancers, up 0.85 per cent with Open Text (TSX:OTC) ahead $1.62 to $98.66 while CGI Group (TSX:GIB.A) climbed 47 cents to $34.87.The consumer discretion group was up 0.7 per cent and shares in Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG) were up $1.55 to $93.69 as the auto parts maker forecast between US$33.8 billion and US$35.5 billion of total sales this year, with about half of that generated from North America.The base metals component rose 0.6 per cent while March copper added one cent to US$3.34 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) was 27 cents higher to C$26.56.Financials climbed 0.55 per cent with Power Corp. of Canada (TSX:POW) ahead 56 cents to $31.33 and Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) gained 29 cents to $21.87.February crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 78 cents to US$93.37 a barrel and the energy sector was up 0.25 per cent.The positive economic data sent gold stocks and prices lower. February bullion lost $9.60 to US$1,235.80 an ounce while the TSX gold sector declined 0.2 per cent. Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) shed 11 cents to C$4.48.Osisko Mining Corp. (TSX:OSK) says a hostile takeover bid for the company by Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) is “very low” and urged shareholders to hold off from accepting the $2.6-billion offer until the board makes a recommendation on the proposal.Osisko shares have traded well above the $5.95 implied value of the Goldcorp offer since the stock-and-cash proposal was first announced Monday. On Wednesday, Osisko shares slipped one cent to C$6.22 while Goldcorp faded 14 cents to $24.20.In other corporate news, General Motors said after the close Tuesday that it will resume paying a quarterly dividend for the first time in nearly six years. The new 30-cent dividend is payable in March.On Wednesday, GM said that is expects pretax earnings to improve modestly this year, offset by $1.1 billion in European restructuring costs. The automaker earned $8.4 billion before taxes on $152 billion in revenue in 2012. The company releases 2013 earnings next month and its shares were down 51 cents to US$39.51.Encana Corp.’s (TSX:ECA) chief financial officer says the company may decide to get rid of its Deep Panuke offshore natural gas project in Nova Scotia. Sherri Brillon says that the project doesn’t fit with Encana’s new strategy, which involves focusing on five core regions in Canada and the United States instead of investing in dozens of different areas. EnCana shares rose 24 cents to C$19.19.European bourses advanced as London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.75 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX climbed 1.87 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 rose 01.16 per cent.

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