TSX higher as oil advances G7 tries to ease currency concerns

The Toronto stock market was higher Tuesday amid rising prices for oil and metals and disappointing earnings from pipeline giant TransCanada (TSX:TRP).The S&P/TSX composite index was ahead 49.4 points to 12,797.55 while the TSX Venture Exchange climbed 0.66 of a point to 1,196.86.The Canadian dollar was up 0.16 of a cent to 99.73 cents US as traders took in a statement by the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries, including Canada, which affirmed their commitment to exchange rates determined by markets and not government policy.The statement came out prior to a weekend meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers where exchange rates and the threat of a “currency war” are expected to feature heavily.Attention has centred recently on the Japanese yen, which dropped Monday to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since May 2010. The Japanese government has set in motion a string of economic policies, such as a higher two per cent target for Japanese inflation, that many in the markets think will lead to more money being created in Japan.One parallel effect of that policy has been a rise in the euro, which threatens to hinder Europe’s economic recovery.Despite the G7 statement, the yen remained stable as analysts observed that any country could claim that its loose monetary policy was aimed at helping the domestic economy, not setting the interest rate..U.S. indexes were positive as traders looked ahead to President Barack Obama’s state of the union address Tuesday evening. Obama is expected to focus on the economy, including job creation.The Dow Jones industrials was up 31.24 points to 14,002.48, the Nasdaq added 0.07 of a point to 3,192.07 and the S&P 500 index was ahead 1.64 points to 1,518.65.TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP), currently seeking U.S. approval for the Keystone XL pipeline which would carry oilsands crude from Alberta to Texas, reported that its net income fell to $306 million or 43 cents per share. Its comparable earnings, which exclude most unusual items, declined to $318 million or 45 cents per share.Analysts had been expecting 51 cents per share of net earnings and 49 cents per share of adjusted earnings. TransCanada also said its quarterly dividend will rise by two cents per share to 46 cents for the quarter, an increase of five per cent and its shares slipped 53 cents to $47.72. It also said that it expects the Keystone XL pipeline to be in service in late 2014 or early 2015.“That is all going to depend on politics — maybe we will get some clues tonight, maybe Obama will say something (during his State of the Union speech),” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier. “More than likely it will get approved. There will be some political wrangling but it will get approved.”The energy sector led advancers, ahead one per cent as oil prices advanced, adding to Monday’s gain of more than $1 due largely to a weaker U.S. dollar. The March contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 54 cents to US$97.57 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) climbed 68 cents to C$31.19.A U.S. agency has given the final approval required for the acquisition of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY) by CNOOC, one of China’s largest energy companies. The US$15.1-billion friendly takeover had broad implications in Canada and elsewhere, due to Nexen’s extensive holdings in Alberta’s oilsands, Gulf of Mexico and North Sea. The company says it now expects the deal to close this month. Nexen shares gained 58 cents to C$27.51.The tech sector was up 0.66 per cent with CGI Group (TSX:GIB.A) up 58 cents to $28.40.The base metals sector was ahead 0.47 per cent while March copper in New York moved up two cents to US$3.74 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) advanced 49 cents to C$33.78.The gold sector climbed 0.4 per cent as April gold bullion on the Nymex shed early losses and was unchanged at US$1,649.10 an ounce. Endeavour Mining (TSX:EDV) jumped seven cents to C$2.05 and Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI) advanced 29 cents to $16.06.Novagold Resources Inc. (TSX:NG) said Tuesday that the spinoff of its copper assets last year and other factors resulted in a $67.6-million net profit for the 2012 financial year, or about nine cents per share. The Vancouver-based company, which is in the development phase and not producing sales revenue, had $253 million in cash and equivalents when the year ended Nov. 30 and its shares edged up seven cents to $4.44.Over the rest of the week, traders will take in reports from resource giants including Talisman Energy (TSX:TLM), Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE), gas giant EnCana Corp. (TSX:ECA) and Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX). Outside of the resource sector, Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF), and telecoms Telus Corp. (TSX:T) and Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) will also hand in results.“Expectations have been quite low, the bar has been set quite low and most companies have been able to meet or exceed those lowered expectations,” added Nakamoto. “It always depends on expectations versus the actual number. One could say absolute numbers year over year earnings growth is probably fairly muted, five or seven per cent. But when investors are looking for three or four per cent, all of a sudden that becomes a surprise.”In the U.S., Coca-Cola reported that its profit rose 13 per cent to $1.87 billion, or 41  cents per share, as global sales volume at the world’s biggest beverage company improved three per cent. Not including one-time items, Coca-Cola Co. earned 45 cents per share, a penny better than expectations. Revenue rose four per cent to $11.46 billion, which was slightly less than the $11.53 billion analysts expected and its shares were down 1.99 per cent to US$37.84 in New York.

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