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Closing Bell TSX closes flat amid weak mining stocks positive earnings

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed little changed Friday as mining stocks fell alongside prices for gold and copper.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,816.63 -6.99 -0.1%S&P 500 — 1,502.96 8.14 +0.5%Dow — 13,895.98 70.65 +0.5%Nasdaq — 3,149.71 +19.33 +0.6%The S&P/TSX composite index had started the session off with a modest gain amid an early rise in oil prices and positive U.S. earnings news, but closed down 7.59 points at 12,816.03. The TSX Venture Exchange fell 2.2 points to 1,227.26.The Canadian dollar fell 0.36 of a cent to 99.35 cents US, its lowest level since early August. The tumble came a day after closing below parity with the American currency for the first time since mid-November.The loonie has been under pressure since the Bank of Canada indicated Wednesday that any interest rate increases will likely be further down the road than previously expected because of economic weakness. The dollar had found support in recent months partly on sentiment that the central bank could hike rates later this year.Selling pressure on the currency increased Friday amid data showing inflation remained tame late last year. Statistics Canada said that the annual inflation rate was 0.8% in December, the same as in November.Friday’s economic data helped add to the decline in the loonie as weak price pressures mean that the central bank doesn’t have to raise rates to curb high inflation. Higher rates tend to attract investors and push up the currency.New York’s Dow Jones industrials finished up 70.65 points at 13,895.98, the Nasdaq climbed 19.33 points to 3,149.71 and the S&P 500 index rose 8.14 points to 1,502.96, its first close above 1,500 since late 2007.Other economic data showed that sales of new homes in the U.S. cooled in December compared with November, but sales for the entire year were the best since 2009. New home sales fell 7.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000, down from November’s rate of 377,000.For the year, sales rose to 367,000, which is still far below the 700,000 level that economists consider healthy.“November was such a strong month that December might just be the fact that a lot of the growth happened earlier in the year as opposed to later,” said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Financial.“So overall, when you look at the U.S. economy, I think you’re seeing some signs of some strength there.”Procter & Gamble stock was up 4.02% to US$73.25 in New York as the maker of Tide and Pampers said quarterly net income more than doubled to US$4.06 billion, or $1.39 per share. Excluding items, it earned $1.22 per share, 11 cents better than analyst forecast. Revenue also beat expectations, rising 2% to $22.18 billion.The world’s largest consumer products maker also said it was boosting its profit outlook.Oilfield services company Halliburton reported a 26% decline in fourth-quarter net income, hit by costs from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, acquisitions and a seasonal slowdown in North America. But adjusted results beat expectations and its shares rose 5.05% to US$39.72.Microsoft stock erased early losses to move ahead 0.9% to $27.88 after the software giant said after the close Thursday that it earned $6.4 billion, or 76 cents per share, in the final three months of the year. That was down 4% from a year earlier. The company’s total revenue rose 3% from last year to $21.5 billion. The earnings were a penny above estimates while revenue fell below analysts’ projections by about $100 million.In Canada, shares in business software company Open Text Corp. (TSX:OTC) fell 20 cents to C$59.68 after it said Thursday that it earned US$61.1 million in the latest quarter, up from $47.4 million a year ago. Revenue in what was the company’s second quarter grew to $352.2 million, up from $321.5 millionElsewhere in the tech sector, Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) was down 19 cents or 1.07% to $17.61. Its stock has soared about 50% since the beginning of the year — and 12% this week alone — as enthusiasm builds ahead of the unveiling of RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 lineup on Wednesday.The gold sector was the leading TSX decliner, down about 2% as February bullion on the Nymex dropped $13.30 to US$1,656.60 an ounce. Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K) faded 42 cents to C$8.58 and Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) gave back 58 cents to $35.81.The base metals sector edged 0.47% lower with March copper off two cents at US$3.65 a pound. Capstone Mining (TSX:CS) shed eight cents to C$2.49 while Rio Alto Mining (TSX:RIO) declined 10 cents to $5.31.The March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped seven cents to US$95.88 a barrel.The energy sector was up 0.3% and Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) gained 25 cents to C$30.92.In other corporate news, Fortress Paper Ltd. (TSX:FTP) tumbled 19.24% to $8.69 after it said the startup of a co-generation project at its specialty cellulose mill will be delayed and costs will be 10 to 20% higher than previously forecast. The company also said it expects to resolve “minor technical issues” soon as it continues to ramp up production of dissolving pulp.Talisman Energy Inc. (TSX:TLM) said it is out to slash costs by cutting jobs and exiting high-risk exploration areas. Talisman had already announced it was winding down operations in Peru, where it was not able to establish a big enough resource to make it worth its while. It is likely to do the same in Poland, which has a nascent shale gas industry. Its shares were off 16 cents at $12.04.The TSX ended the week up 0.7%, led by a 5% run-up in the tech sector, reflecting the sharp climb by RIM shares. And positive earnings news helped push the Dow industrials up 1.8%. read more

Outokumpus timely Service Centre initiative

first_imgWhen Outokumpu Technology set up its Australian Service Centre four years ago, a global resource boom wasn’t even on the radar. But with the Centre trebling in size by 2006, the company is now well placed to provide world-class skills to enhance the efficiency of its customers’ plants.Operating from bases in Sydney and Perth, the Service Centre has been structured to provide vital skills at a time of unprecedented demand for them, says its Manager, Jason King. With a core establishment of two dozen staff, supported by expertise from Outokumpu’s operations worldwide, the Centre is focused on key service areas including preventative maintenance, upgrades, spare parts management and excellence in training and safety.“Our service skills span the spectrum, from process audits and optimization, through to the application of proper maintenance skills and spares management. We have developed a solid track record in installation/shutdown supervision, as well as some upgrade and modernization projects involving turnkey design and construction work where that is of benefit to our customers.“Where our customers have a service need, we can do much more than supply technology and parts – we can install, supervise, commission and also handle vital ancillary work such as foundations, piping, structural, plant cut-in and electrical installation. At a time where our industry is searching for resources, Outokumpu is stepping up to the plate and offering more and more assistance” he said.The latest step in the multi-million dollar investment in the Service Centre came with the recent opening of a new Service Facility in Kewdale, Perth. This is equipped to inspect and overhaul equipment, perform tests on behalf of customers, complete pre-assembly work and consolidate spares deliveries for West Australian customers.Reflecting the rapid response requirements of the business, the Kewdale facility has sea containers packed with supplies and tools ready to roll for install and overhaul projects. “We are equipped to apply expertise wherever we are needed, and aim to be available whenever we are needed,” says KingWith many companies urgently seeking to outsource roles previously managed on site, Outokumpu Technology presents a wealth of experience and expertise in areas such as comminution, flotation, thickening, analysers, automation and physical separation. Service Centre teams focus on specific areas of need, including: spares, service, customer training, audits and optimisation, and upgrade and modernization projects.Our programmes focus on areas where plants, processes and personnel skills can be improved to promote greater profitability, reduced risk of breakdowns, increased technology life, increased safety and motivated plant personnel,” says King.” Our series of regional training seminars, for example, are now backed by on-site, customized training programmes. These utilize training material with practical benefits proven in the field. A number of sites are now employing this resource so plant managers can get the best from new staff, while also demonstrating to their new recruits a commitment to ongoing training. Regular training ensures not only optimum operation, but also results in motivated staff – a key consideration in today’s labour market”The Centre’s field and process engineers in Sydney and Perth are available for troubleshooting, inspection, breakdown assistance, regular preventative maintenance, calibration and other vital ongoing tasks. All Outokumpu’s site supervisors undergo workplace health and safety officer training, ensuring appropriate OH&S qualification to handle supervision of site shutdowns.The Service Centre’s Spares Department has introduced initiatives such as site-specific spares list management to facilitate streamlined inventory control. “Some sites do not have easy access to accurate parts information, which can present unnecessary challenges, sometimes resulting in wrong parts being ordered. Feedwell retrofit by the Service Centre on a 30-m thickener at Cannington“Some spares, particularly those with long lead times, are critical to preventing prolonged downtime.  Our ongoing cataloguing service means any site can request and receive from us a fully detailed spares list, with lead time and pricing for all available parts. With this information, maintenance managers can assess any operational risks associated with lead times for replacement components.  Site-specific spares lists assist maintenance planners with comprehensive inventory control and ensure prompt supply of genuine OEM spare parts” says King.last_img read more