TSX advances amid strong US retail sales acquisitions in resource sector

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market was slightly higher Monday amid a strong reading on U.S. retail sales and major deal making in the resource sector.The S&P/TSX composite index edged up 21.23 points to 14,278.92.The Canadian dollar advanced 0.24 of a cent to 91.32 cents US.U.S. indexes also found a lift from earnings at Citigroup that beat expectations.The Dow Jones industrials climbed 73.82 points to 16,100.57 as the bank reported adjusted earnings of $1.30 a share, 16 cents higher than expectations and its shares ran ahead 4.4%.Retail sales rose 1.1% in March, the best showing since September 2012. The government also revised February to a 0.7% gain, more than double its previous estimate. Sales had fallen in January and December amid severe winter weather.The Nasdaq was 21.19 points higher to 4,020.93 while the S&P 500 index rose 9.85 points to 1,825.54.Despite the positive move, traders are cautious amid concerns about stock valuations, Chinese growth prospects and corporate earnings.Meanwhile, financial analysts expect earnings for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 to drop 1.6% from a year earlier, according to FactSet, a financial data provider. That was a reversal from the start of the year, when they expected a jump of 4.3%.The TSX base metals sector led advancers, up 2% and May copper was up one cent at $3.05 a pound.Mining giant Glencore Xstrata said it was selling its Las Bambas copper project in Peru to a group of Chinese state-owned companies for US$5.85 billion.The purchase adds to a multibillion-dollar string of foreign acquisitions by China’s government-owned energy and mining companies, which hope to profit from future demand.Mining giant Glencore Xstrata is selling its Las Bambas copper project in Peru to a group of Chinese state-owned companies for US$5.85 billion. Meanwhile, Caracal Energy Inc. (LSE:CRCL) has terminated plans to merge with Calgary-based TransGlobe Energy (TSX:TGL) company and reached a friendly deal to be acquired by Glencore Xstrata. TransGlobe shares gained 32 cents to $8.21.And Texas-based Stabilis Energy says it signed an agreement to buy substantially all the liquefied natural gas business of a subsidiary of Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Financial terms of the deal involving Encana Natural Gas Inc. weren’t disclosed. Encana shares climbed 30 cents to $24.95.On Canada’s West Coast, the residents of Kitimat, B.C. have voted against Enbridge’s (TSX:ENB) proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project in a non-binding plebiscite by a vote of 1,793 to 1,278. The federal cabinet is expected to release its decision on Northern Gateway by June. Enbridge slipped 51 cents to $50.66.The gold sector improved by 1.45% while June bullion gained $6.60 to US$1,325.60 an ounce.The energy sector was ahead 0.3% with May crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange off a penny to US$103.73 a barrel. Telecoms were the biggest weight on the TSX, down 1% as Telus (TSX:T) fell 52 cents to $37.53.Utilities and consumer staples stocks were also weak.

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