Gold stocks send TSX higher as RussiaUkraine tensions rise

Gold stocks send TSX higher as RussiaUkraine tensions rise

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market was slightly higher Monday with energy and gold prices getting a lift in the wake of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 19.18 points to 14,228.66 as traders generally avoided risky assets.The Canadian dollar fell as investors sought the safe-haven status of the U.S. dollar after Russia took effective control of the Crimean peninsula without firing a shot, calling it a necessary protection for the country’s citizens living there. There are worries that Russia might seek to expand its control by seizing other parts of eastern Ukraine.The loonie lost 0.09 of a cent to 90.21 cents US.U.S. indexes were sharply lower as traders weighed the potential economic consequences of Russia’s move just ahead of the fifth anniversary of the current bull market and the Dow Jones industrials dropped 106.25 points to 16,215.46, the Nasdaq gave back 29.55 points to 4,278.56 and the S&P 500 index fell 9.05 points to 1,850.4On the economic front, U.S. consumer spending rose 0.4 per cent in January following a tiny 0.1 per cent gain in December. Income grew 0.3 per cent in January following no increase at all in December.Investors also looked ahead to the release later in the morning of the Institute for Supply Management’s latest gauge on the manufacturing sector.The gold sector led TSX advancers, up almost three per cent while traders seeking safety pushed April bullion up $26.10 to US$1,347.70 an ounce.The energy sector rose 0.55 per cent as oil prices spiked almost $2 a barrel as Russia’s military advance into Ukraine raised fears of economic sanctions against a country that is one of the world’s major energy producers. The April contract in New York jumped $1.61 to US$104.20 a barrel.The base metals component led decliners, down 1.5 per cent as May copper lost two cents to US$3.16 a pound. Prices for the metal were also pressured by Chinese data as both the official and HSBC versions of the country’s monthly manufacturing survey showed the sector was weaker last month than in January.On the earnings front, Magna International’s (TSX:MG) quarterly net earnings rose 31 per cent from a year ago to US$458 million or $2.03 a share as sales jumped 14 per cent to US$9.17 billion. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 19 per cent to 38 cents per share and Magna shares gained $2.78 to $101.35.Pengrowth Energy Corp. (TSX:PGF) had an $91.1 million net loss or 17 cents per share during the fourth quarter. Analysts had expected a net loss of three cents a share and its stock added two cents to $7.48.European markets were sharply lower as London’s FTSE 100 index lost 1.66 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX fell 2.95 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 gave back two per cent.Russia’s RTS stock index plunged 10.5 per cent and the ruble, already down nearly 10 per cent this year, fell below 50 to the euro for the first time.

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