Take stock – December 15

Six of 10 components rose and only one declined as the composite index climbed 0.3 per cent in November.

Composite leading index rises in November

OTTAWA — Six of 10 components rose and only one declined as the composite index climbed 0.3 per cent in November.

Statistics Canada reports the housing index recorded the largest turnaround, increasing two per cent after six straight declines averaging almost three per cent a month.

Both housing starts and existing home sales firmed up after sizable retreats from their highs in the spring. The upturn in housing was reflected in a levelling off of furniture and appliance sales, after four straight declines, while spending on other durable goods continued to advance steadily.

Manufacturing demand continued to improve slowly as new orders rose 0.7 per cent. The ratio of shipments to inventories was unchanged at 1.93 for the third straight month, as the growth of inventories has caught up to the recovery of sales.

Elsewhere, the Toronto stock market continued to trend up with a 2.8 per cent gain in November, driven by the strength in commodity prices.


BP shares at highest level since May

NEW YORK — BP shares on Tuesday jumped to their highest level in seven months after the company announced it was selling another $775 million in assets to help pay for the Gulf oil spill. The British oil giant expects to pay nearly $40 billion to handle the spill and has aggressively raised money to meet that obligation. In addition to suspending its dividend and selling bonds, the company has sold off nearly $22 billion in assets. It plans to shed up to $30 billion in company assets by the end of 2011. BP’s latest sale included exploration and production assets in Pakistan to Hong Kong-based investment group United Energy Group Ltd. The deal, expected to be completed in the first half of 2011, includes nine producing and exploration blocks in Sindh province and four offshore exploration blocks in the Arabian Sea.