The Toronto stock market was lower Tuesday amid relief that there was a clear-cut winner from Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election, with Barrack Obama winning a solid majority of electoral college votes over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.But that sentiment was tempered by the realization that there will likely be some tough slogging ahead as Democrats and Republicans try to extricate the government from automatically imposing tax hikes and steep spending cuts at the end of the year.Investors worry this so-called fiscal cliff scenario would send the U.S. back into recession.The S&P/TSX composite index fell 82.91 points to 12,278.29 as Canadian investors also absorbed earnings reports from the resource and industrial sectors — with several heavyweights missing estimates. The TSX Venture Exchange was 4.34 points lower to 1,298.8.The Canadian dollar was down 0.16 of a cent to 100.67 cents US as commodities backtracked and traders took in another reminder of the fragile state of Europe’s economy while looking ahead to a crucial vote in the Greek parliament later in the day.New York markets were deep in the red as the Dow Jones industrials tumbled 174.56 points to 13,071.12, the Nasdaq composite index dropped 37.94 points to 2,973.99 while the S&P 500 index fell 19.21 points to 1,409.18.There had been concern that America would have to endure a re-run of the protracted election of 2000.But its arms of government remain divided, with the Democrats holding onto their majority in the Senate and the Republicans in control of the House of Representatives. That could still lead to a logjam in policymaking, not least over the state of the country’s public finances.“In other words, it’s like nothing ever happened,” observed Andrew Pyle, investment adviser at ScotiaMcLeod in Peterborough, Ont.“And that may not be great news for the markets, especially as there are no concrete signs that either Republicans or Democrats are any more willing to reach across the isle and compromise on the key components to real sustainable fiscal reform.”Greece was also back in focus ahead of a crucial vote in its parliament later in the day that could determine whether the country stays in the eurozone. If lawmakers don’t back a C13.5 billion package of spending cuts and tax increases, the country faces the prospect of losing access to its bailout lifeline and potentially defaulting on its mountain of debt and leaving the monetary union.The European Union has also downgraded its economic forecasts for the 27-country bloc. The EU’s executive arm says it now expects the region’s gross domestic product to contract by 0.3 per cent on an annual basis this year, rather than remaining flat as it predicted in the spring. It also said that the 17 countries that use the euro will contract, with GDP falling 0.4 per cent, against a previous expectation of a 0.3 per cent fall.Commodity prices turned lower following sharp gains on Tuesday.The base metals sector led losers, down two per cent as December copper shed five cents to US$3.46 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) declined $1.06 to $32.46.The energy sector fell 1.3 per cent as the December crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost $2.04 to US$86.67 a barrel after gaining $3 Tuesday. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) lost 58 cents to $29.62.The industrials sector was also a weight as transport giant Bombardier Inc.’s (TSX:BBD.B) net income rose to US$212 million or 12 cents a share in the third quarter. But its revenues slipped to US$4.3 billion, down about $300 million from the third quarter of 2011, lighter than analysts had expected as weakness at its rail equipment division continued and its shares fell 13 cents to $3.48.Elsewhere in the component, WestJet (TSX:WJA) shares gained 40 cents to $18.36 as profits soared almost 80 per cent in the third quarter to $70.6 million or 52 cents per diluted share, up from $39.3 million or 28 cents per share a year ago. Revenue rose to $866.5 million from $755.3 million.The financials sector was also a weight as Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) gave back 22 cents to $12.30.The gold sector was the sole advancer, up 0.85 per cent while December bullion was off $7.60 to US$1,722.60 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) rose 54 cents to $44.28. Franco-Nevada Corporation (TSX:FNV) turned a profit of US$52 million, or 36 cents per share in its third quarter. Revenue fell to $105.2 million from $113.3. Earnings on an adjusted basis rose to $45.3 million, or 31 cents per share, beating expectations by three cents. The mining financier also raised its monthly dividend by 20 per cent to six cents per share and its shares rose $1.65 to $57.70.Meanwhile, pipeline company Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) posted net profit of $189 million or 24 cents per share, compared with a small net loss of $5 million or one cent a share last year. Adjusted earnings rose to $269 million or 34 cents per share, a penny below analyst estimates. Enbridge’s total revenue was $5.79 billion, down from $6.28 billion a year earlier. Its shares slipped 19 cents to $39.90.Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) reported it had $129 million or 80 cents per share in net income, down from $293 million or $1.85 per share a year earlier. Ex-items, the Calgary-based fertilizer company’s net income would have been $215 million or $1.34 per share, well below a consensus analyst estimate of $1.76 per share and its shares gave back $7.58 or 7.1 per cent to $98.82.In the U.S., Kraft Foods’ net income rose 13 per cent in the third quarter to US$470 million, or 79 cents per share, 10 cents above estimates. Revenue rose three per cent to $4.6 billion.European bourses headed lower in the wake of the latest grim economic news as London’s FTSE 100 index lost 0.49 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX was down 1.23 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 shed 1.02 per cent.
REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says it might be time to look at shipping grain south through the United States instead of east and west to Canadian ports.Wall made the comments Tuesday while voicing his frustration over a grain backlog that has left a record crop sitting in bins across the Prairies.“While the U.S. transportation system isn’t perfect, they certainly have not had the degree of trouble we’ve had. There seems to be greater competition, greater capacity to handle,” said the premier.“And so in addition to the option of two providers going east-west, maybe we need to look increasingly at the option of having grain move south and being part of the U.S. system to port, so we can actually serve the markets that are so important to our farmers.”Wall mused about possible incentives from the province for a north-south railroad.It would help to diversify transportation, he said.“If this is the new norm … of the volumes we’re seeing and we’re going to continue seeing some oil on rail and potash on rail, I just fundamentally think it’s time we look at every option and maybe increase the options we have for moving these commodities, not just east and west, as I say, but maybe north and south to a greater degree,” said Wall.Grain-handling companies have told the province that it may be well into 2015 before the backlog is cleared.Saskatchewan said Monday it wants the federal government to oversee negotiations on performance agreements between grain and rail companies.Federal legislation allows a government arbitrator to decide if a signed service agreement between a shipping company and a railway has been violated, but most grain handlers don’t have such contracts. That means rail companies determine the level of service they’re going to provide.Wall says he raised the issue Monday in a phone call with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.“I fundamentally believe he understands the urgency of the situation and how every option — including the federal government maybe having to be the bad guy — every option needs to be on the table. Or at least, at the very beginning (Ottawa needs to be) the encourager of these two groups to get together on these agreements and, if need be, the federal government to look at penalties, because it’s a serious, serious situation,” said Wall.The Saskatchewan Agriculture Department has said the backlog could result in the loss of billions of dollars.Canadian National (TSX:CNR) said in an email to The Canadian Press on Monday that it’s doing it’s best to move the record crop to market.CN said its goal is return to a more normal level of winter service of 4,000-plus cars per week “as soon as extreme cold temperatures abate.” It uses shorter trains during cold weather to ensure brakes can be used properly, which affects shipment capacity. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Saskatchewan premier says time to eye shipping grain south in light of backlog by Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 25, 2014 1:24 pm MDT