Economic Data Provides Catalyst for North American Stocks

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You can read the original version online: ——————————————————————————– November 23, 2014 Week In Review…

Week In Review For November 17 to November 21, 2014 This week on

* Article Published, November 18, 2014:Augusta Industries Subsidiary Scores Another Sale with Large Canadian Pipeline Company ( (CDN Company) * Article Published, November 19, 2014:Event Cardio Group Acquires Global Rights to Cardiac Monitoring Device ( (U.S. Company) * Article Published, November 20, 2014:Impressive Gain in Nuvilex Shares Following Preclinical Data ( (U.S. Company) Video charts for the week:

* November 20th Video Chart for XCO.The Exco Resources chart is making higher lows since a bottom at $2.12 in October, while facing a resistance at $3.44 to effectively create a triangle pattern as trading tightens to a smaller range. The indicators are pointing towards bullishness, but the chart needs to bust through the triangle with no more real resistance in sight until around $4.25.

view: ( ) * November 20th Video Chart for SIS:CA.The Savaria chart is printing all-time highs this week as the chart pushed through a significant resistance at $3.80. This is a low volume play, but has produced solid gains in 2014, as well as huge gains from a low at the height of the financial crisis in early 2009, keeping the chart on radar to continue to chug higher in the coming months. view:

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________________________________________________________________ WEEKLY UPDATE – ECONOMIC DATA PROVIDES CATALYST FOR NORTH AMERICAN STOCKS The Market View:

Equities in North America stumbled a bit at Monday`s opening bell on news that GDP in Japan, the world`s third biggest economy, contracted again in the third quarter, but that was shrugged off to see the S&P 500 close at a record high once again on nominal gains and low volume as the TSX Composite hit its highest level in nearly seven weeks. Oil prices continued to slip lower, but the benchmark Toronto index showed that it is much more than just the resource plays it is so well known for. The positive theme carried on all week with gold and oil eventually logging gains, ending Friday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 moving deeper into record high territory and the TSX Composite reaching its loftiest level in 8 weeks…

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A Few Things to Consider:

In our weekly look at small cap indexes, it is still pointedly evident that the Russell 2000 (RUT) is struggling to make any headway. RUT ended the week down by only 0.12% and that`s the third straight week that the small cap index has stagnated, showing how tough what we consider a secondary resistance…

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Thoughts for the Week – OTC Markets Says “Pay or Pinksheets”:

First off, let us say that OTC Markets (X“>OTCQX:OTCM) has done a stellar job in the past few years with its efforts in buying the Pinksheets and working to clean-up the over-the-counter marketplace. However, their latest initiative to raise their listing standards between the X“>OTCQX, OTCQB and OTCPK is certainly open to some scrutiny. Since employing its three tier system…

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Forex & Commodity Snapshot:

* The Canadian Dollar rose to a three-week high against the US Dollar on the back of rising inflation, gaining by 0.51% on the week to US$0.89026.

* December Gold futures were the most actively traded, gaining $12.10 per ounce, or 1.02%, to $1,197.7.

* December Silver futures were the most actively traded, rising for the second straight week to gain $0.81 per ounce, or 0.50%, to $16.395.

* December Copper futures were the most actively traded, edging down by $0.015 per pound, or 0.49%, to $3.0315.

* January West Texas Intermediate Crude futures were the most actively traded, finally climbing by rising $0.69 per barrel, or 0.91%, to $76.51.

Equity Market Snapshot:

(All percentages on a weekly basis unless otherwise noted) * Canadian biotech Valeant Pharmaceuticals (TSX:VRX, 7.86%) finally lost its months-long battle to acquire Botox maker Allergan Inc.

(NYSE:AGN, 5.28%). Both the boards of Allergan and Irish generic drug maker Actavis PLC (NYSE:ACT, 6.56%) approved a deal in which Actavis will buy Allergan in a friendly deal worth $66 billion, valuing shares of AGN at $219 each. The merger would create a top 10 pharmaceutical company with revenue in excess of $23 billion annually. The shareholders of Allergan and Actavis now must approve the transaction.

Billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital is the single largest Allergan shareholder, had vehemently supported the Valeant deal, but now says he supports this offer by Actavis and will withdraw his request for a special meeting of Allergan shareholders, in which he planned to try and gain support to vote out Allergan board members. Ackman stands to profit more than $2.3 billion with the Actavis buyout. At the week`s end, Valeant got a big lift in saying that it is now doing a $2 billion share buyback.

* Pfizer (NYSE:PFE, +0.36%) and Germany’s Merck (NYSE:MRK, +1.00%) are partnering in Belén Garijo, chief executive of Merck’s pharmaceutical division, calls the “largest deal in the pharmaceutical industry for a single asset in this stage of development.” Pfizer will pay Merck $850 million upfront with the potential for $2 billion more in milestone payments to help develop and commercialize an anti-PD-L1 antibody for the treatment of cancer. Immunotherapy drugs, which work by blocking a tumor`s ability to evade the immune system, are hot button for their potential as a new way to treat cancer. As a result of the deal, Pfizer lowered its 2014 guidance on reported diluted earnings per share to a range of $1.40 to $1.49, from a previous $1.50 to $1.59.

* After threatening to go hostile a week earlier, Halliburton Co.

(NYSE:HAL, -8.08%) came to friendly terms to acquire smaller oil-services provider rival Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI, +9.92%) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $34.6 billion, or $78.62 per share.

Shareholders of BHI should receive 1.12 Halliburton shares plus $19 in cash for each share they own.

* Plenty of headlines were made with pipeline operator TransCanada Pipeline (TSX:TRP) last week. New York-based activist hedge fund Sandell Asset Management sent a letter to TransCanada urging the company to overhaul its business, including considering spinning off its power business to unlock value in its stock. Sandell is considered a small hedge fund, but best known for grabbing 4 of the 12 director seats at Bob Evans Farms (NASDAQ:BOBE, +0.02%) in August as it aims to split up the company. Also helping the stock was CEO Russ Girling saying he expects the company`s dividend to grow at an average annual rate of at least 8% through 2017.

* Some negative pressure came as a US bill to approve construction of TransCanada`s Keystone XL pipeline narrowly failed in the Senate, squashing any prospects for legislation by the end of the year. 59 senators voted for the bill (and 41 against), just missing the terms of a Senate agreement that required 60 votes to pass the measure.

Meanwhile, Quebec laid out seven conditions that TransCanada`s $12-billion “Energy East” project must meet, including “social acceptability.” Energy East is expected to move 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil from Alberta to refineries on Canada`s East Coast. Similar to Keystone XL, the pipeline is meeting some strong headwinds because of potential environmental impact.

* Shares of SunEdison Inc.(NYSE:SUNE, +35.03%) and subsidiary TerraForm Power Inc. (NASDAQ:TERP, +23.82%) rallied after disclosing that they are buying Boston-based wind-power company First Wind for $2.4 billion. SunEdison already builds residential and utility-scale solar power arrays, but this is its first foray into the wind business to generate power.

* Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY, +0.39%), the nation`s biggest bank, said it is closing its international client-wealth-management business in the Caribbean and some international advisory businesses in Canada and the United States. A few months ago RBofC sold its client-wealth-management business in the Caribbean to Sagicor Group Jamaica as it continues to realign for its long-term vision focused on “wealth management business serving high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients from our key operational hubs in Canada, the U.S., the British Isles and Asia.” * Shares of BlackBerry (TSX:BB, -8.86%) got nicked after Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette cut his rating on the smartphone maker from equal weight to underweight, citing concerns that the markets are too optimistic about BlackBerry`s ability to hit software sales targets. Faucette set a price target of only $7 for US-listed shares (NASDAQ:BBRY), which was 35% below the price of the closing price of the stock the day before the target was released and 44% beneath the $12.54 high that BlackBerry shares hit four days prior.

* Not that it impacted the markets, but the Center for Effective Government released a report titled “Fleecing Uncle Sam” that makes for a good read on how large corporations work the tax system. There were many key findings in the report, including 7 of the 30 biggest companies in America paying their CEOs more than the company paid in federal income taxes. Some companies, such as Boeing (NYSE:BA, +3.04%) and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F, +1.92%) paid their CEOs in excess of $23 million in 2013, while collecting large tax refunds. Per the report, “All seven of these firms were highly profitable, collectively reporting more than $74 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits. However, they received a combined total of $1.9 billion in refunds from the IRS, giving them an effective tax rate of negative 2.5 percent.” Google it and give it a read.

* Shares of Vancouver-based Nevsun Resources (TSX:NSU, +15.72%) jumped ahead after Bloomberg reported that mining fund QKR Corp. is close to making a bid in the area of $1 billion for the company.

Bloomberg cited unnamed sources and Nevsun said it didn`t know anything about a possible offer.

* Investment firm Blackstone Group (NYSE:X, +3.95%”>BX, +3.95%) reached an agreement to buy General Electric`s (NYSE:GE, +2.00%) residential real-estate business in Japan for more than $1.6 billion. A falling yen has made prices attractive and this deal will include more than 200 residential properties with more than 10,000 rental units, mostly in major cites like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

* Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF, -7.30%) said that it may have to shutter its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec as investments in the project aren`t coming in quickly enough. Cliffs is taking a more narrow focus on projects as iron ore prices are at a 5-year low and since Lourenco Goncalves assumed the CEO spot in August after a proxy battle with activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital. Shares of CLF are now down about 65% in 2014. In a bid to insulate itself from losses and liabilities with its Canadian operations, Cliffs may seek creditor protection in Canada, a move similar to what US Steel (NYSE:X) did two months ago.

* Optical-networking company Oplink Communications (NASDAQ:OPLK, +14.79%) said it is being bought by privately-held Koch Industries for $24.25 per share, or about $445 million in cash. That was a 14% premium to the closing price of OPLK the day before the news was announced, which was already at a 52-week high.

Weekly Indices Results:

The S&P TSX Composite Index closed green for the sixth straight week, tacking on 267.98 points, or 1.81%, to 15,111.08. The TSX-Venture Composite Index moved on to a three-week winning streak, advancing 12.50 points, or 1.61%, to 789.13.

In the States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average kept rising into uncharted territory, making another record high by adding 175.32 points, or 0.99%, at 17,810.06. The much-broader S&P 500 is in the same boat with a new record of its own, gaining 23.68 points, or 1.16%, to close at 2,063.50. The tech-rich NASDAQ Composite was strong again too, adding 24.43 points, or 0.52%, to 4,712.97.

Canadian Economic Data:

(All data from Statistics Canada unless otherwise noted) * Canadian acquisitions of foreign securities resumed in September after a quiet August, as investors added $8.6 billion worth of these instruments to their holdings. Meanwhile, foreign investment in Canadian securities slowed to $4.4 billion and mainly focused on instruments from the private corporate sector. Canadian acquisitions of foreign debt securities amounted to $5.1 billion, led by both US government and corporate bonds. The investment in US corporate bonds was the highest observed since March 2007. Canadian purchases of foreign stocks amounted to $3.6 billion in September. Investors added $3.8 billion of non-US foreign shares to their portfolios but reduced their exposure to US shares for a second straight month.

* The Canadian Real Estate Association said that national homes advanced by 0.7% in October from September, marking the most activity in October since 2009 and suggesting that the resilient Canadian housing market is keeping some momentum heading into the winter months. Actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, stood 7% above October 2013 levels. The MLS Home Price Index rose by 5.5% compared to last October. The national average sale price climbed 7.1% on a year-over-year basis.

* The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in September was 494,400, down 0.9% from August and 3.5% below the same time in 2013. Compared with September 2013, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 18,000 or 3.5%. Ontario (-6.3%) was the only province with a notable decline in September, while there were more people receiving regular benefits in British Columbia (+2.6%), Saskatchewan (+2.4%), Quebec (+2.1%) and Manitoba (+1.3%). There was little or no change in the other provinces.

* Wholesale sales climbed for the first time in three months, rising 1.8% to $54.0 billion in September as higher sales were recorded in six of the seven subsectors, accounting for 83% of total wholesale sales. The report easily beat economist expectations of a 0.8% advance for September. In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 1.8%. Pacing the gains was the building material and supplies subsector (+5.5%), with advances also recorded in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (+2.2%), personal and household goods (+1.8%) and the miscellaneous subsector (+1.8%). The sole decliner was motor vehicle and parts (-1.1%). Inventories increased for a ninth consecutive month, rising 0.5% to $67.1 billion in September, the highest level on record. Compared to September 2013, wholesale sales were up 8.1%.

* The Consumer Price Index rose 2.4% in the 12 months to October, after increasing 2.0% in September. Prices increased in all major components in the 12 months to October. Higher prices for shelter and food (+2.8%) led the rise in the CPI. At the same time, larger year-over-year price increases for transportation (+1.1%) and for clothing and footwear (+3.1%) contributed the most to the acceleration in the CPI. “Core” CPI, which excludes some volatile items from the food and energy categories, rose 2.3% in October compared with a year ago after a 2.1% increase in September. Economists forecast a 2.1% rise in both the headline and core figures. The Bank of Canada generally follows the core figure and tries to target 2.0% year-over-year rises. Consumer prices rose in all provinces in the 12 months to October, with Alberta (+3.0%) posting the largest gain.

Conversely, British Columbia (+1.1%) recorded the smallest year-over-year increase.

This week, major economic data reports will include Retail Trade on Tuesday; and Industrial Product Price Index, Raw Materials Price Index and GDP on Friday.

U.S. Economic Data:

* The Federal Reserve showed that US factory production rose 0.2% in October, matching a downwardly revised figure for September, against expectations of a 0.3% gain. A third month of declining output at automakers (-1.2%) and less demand at utilities (-0.7%) and mining companies (-0.9%) weighed on overall industrial production, which edged down 0.1% last month, well short of economist predictions of a 0.2% gain. Capacity utilization, which is viewed as a measure of slack in the economy, dipped to 78.9% from 79.2% in September.

* The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that its Producer Price Index for Final Demand rose 0.2% in October, against economist expectations of a drop of 0.1%. A gauge of inflation, the PPI-FD measures the cost of goods and services before they reach the consumer. In September the PPI-FD slipped by 0.1%, which was the first monthly decline since August 2013. The October rise was pushed by rising prices for new cars, electricity, pharmaceuticals, beef and pork and moderated by a sharp 5.8% drop in prices for wholesale gasoline. Excluding the volatile food and energy segments, so-called “core” PPI-FD increased by 0.4%, more than the 0.1% forecast by economists. Compared to October 2013, producer prices were up by 1.6%, which is beneath the Federal Reserve`s annual target of 2%, meaning that inflation continues to be muted and the central bank is under no pressure to hike interest rates.

* The Commerce Department reported that housing starts fell by 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted 1.009 million-unit rate, shy of the 1.025 million pace expected by economists. Meanwhile, September`s figure was upwardly revised to a 1.038 million-unit rate. The slower month of October was the result of a 15.4% decline in the volatile multi-family homes segment, which tallied a 313,000-unit annual clip.

The larger single-family home segment increased for the second straight month (+4.2% to 696,000 unit rate), reaching the highest level since last November. Applications for building permits, a proxy for future groundbreaking, set a good tone by rising 4.8% to a 1.08 million-unit pace, marking the highest level for permits since June 2008.

* The Labor Department announced that the Consumer Price Index was unchanged in October as tumbling gasoline prices (-3.0%) offset increases in other segments, such as housing and medical costs.

Economists were calling for a decline of 0.1% for the CPI. Energy prices were down by 1.9% last month, marking the fourth straight monthly decline. Food prices nipped up 0.1%, the smallest increase in four months. Not counting the volatile food and energy segments, “core” CPI increased by 0.2%, in line with economist predictions.

Over the last year, headline CPI is up 1.7% and core CPI is up 1.8%, beneath the 2% target of the Federal Reserve.

* The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims, a proxy of weekly layoffs, held below 300,000 for the 10th straight week, declining by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 291,000 in the week ended November 15. The decline was not as sharp as the 280,000 claims economists predicted. The four-week moving average of claims, regarded by most as a better view of labor trends because it flattens weekly volatility, edged up by 1,750 to 287,500. Economists generally consider claims fewer than 350,000 per week as a sign of a strengthening jobs market.

* The Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported that its manufacturing index ballooned from 20.7 in October to 40.8 in November, representing the highest level since December 1993 and crushing economist predictions of a decline to 18.5. Readings above 0 signal expansion in manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region. Every subindex was strong, including the employment index hitting a 10-year high at 22.4.

Some analysts immediately questioned the accuracy of the index, saying it will come back down to earth in December as the current level would be correlated with about 6.5% GDP expansion in Q4, which is more than double expectations.

* The National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales (the number of completed transactions for single-family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops) rose 1.5% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million, the highest level of 2014. This followed a 5.18 million annual pace in September. The median seasonally adjusted existing-home price dipped in October to $208,300 from September’s $209,700 and August’s $219,800, but remained 5.5% above the median price in October 2013. That`s the 32nd straight month of year-over-year increases. Inventory of houses on the market dropped 2.6% in October to a supply of 2.22 million existing-homes, representing a 5.1-month supply at the current sales rate. Economists consider six-months of inventory indicative of a healthy market.

This week, data in the States will include GDP on Tuesday; and Durable Goods Orders, Initial Jobless Claims, Personal Income and Outlays and New Home Sales on Wednesday, as data gets moved up from scheduled days due to the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday.

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