Toronto stock market likely in for quiet week

TORONTO — Stock markets are likely in for a quiet week with volumes very low and investors disinclined to do much with their portfolios in the absence of any market moving economic or corporate news.

TORONTO — Stock markets are likely in for a quiet week with volumes very low and investors disinclined to do much with their portfolios in the absence of any market moving economic or corporate news.

The S&P/TSX composite index moves into the final week of 2010 trading with a gain of about 1.37 per cent last week, while the Dow industrials racked up a 0.7 per cent gain.

That adds up to a runup of more than 13 per cent for the year on the TSX, led by base and precious metals stocks.

The Dow Jones industrials has jumped about 10 per cent.

The showing leaves the main Toronto and New York indexes at levels reached just before U.S. investment bank Lehman Bros. went bankrupt in September 2008, helping to trigger the massive financial crisis.

Investors will take in the last of U.S. economic data for 2010 during the course of the week.

“The U.S. statistical mill never shuts down it seems, while Statistics Canada is basically finished for the year after (last Thursday’s) GDP report,” observed BMO Capital Markets deputy chief economist Doug Porter.

“It gives the market a little bit to chew on during what is normally the quietest time of the year.”

The U.S. Conference Board releases its latest reading on consumer confidence on Tuesday. The data should turn out positive after another gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment released last Thursday rose in December.

The University of Michigan’s widely-watched reading climbed to 74.5, the highest level in six months.

However, the index remained below pre-recession levels of more than 80.

“The bigger story here is that it does look like slowly but surely U.S. consumers are regaining a bit of confidence,” added Porter.

“(But) to move to the next level, they’re going to have to get a better job market.’

Investors will also take in the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index report on Thursday, which is a snapshot of the manufacturing sector in the American Midwest.

The report is widely-anticipated, serving as a yardstick for the more all encompassing Institute for Supply Management’s index for the U.S. manufacturing sector, which will be released next week.

It’s a very short trading week for the Toronto stock market, which will be closed Monday and Tuesday.

New York markets operate on a regular schedule all week.