Gold prices helped lift the Toronto stock market into positive territory on Thursday, as Wall Street weakened on disappointing earnings and a weak outlook for the Chinese economy.The S&P/TSX composite index initially opened down but was soon up 11.10 points to 13,999.30, propped up mainly by the gold sector.The Canadian dollar is trading below 90 cents US for the first time since mid-2009. The loonie dropped to 89.91 cents U.S in early trading, down 0.28 of a cent from the previous close. The dollar fell nearly a cent on Wednesday following the Bank of Canada’s latest interest rate announcement.In commodities, the February gold bullion contract rose $18.40 to US$1,257 an ounce. The TSX gold sector rose 3.4 per cent.The energy sector was flat as the March crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 43 cents to US$97.16 a barrel.On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower after several companies reported disappointing results and as signs emerged that manufacturing in China was set to contract.The Dow Jones industrials dropped 158.68 points to 16,214.66, the Nasdaq was 34.94 points lower at 4,208.06 and the S&P 500 index was off 15.63 points to 1,829.50.A preliminary reading of HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index for China dipped this month to the lowest level since July.Several U.S. companies were lower after reporting quarterly results, including KeyCorp, Johnson Controls and Jacobs Engineering.In economic data, Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.6 per cent in November to $41 billion, the fourth increase in five months.Separately, it reported that 512,300 people were getting regular employment insurance benefits in November, a number virtually unchanged from October.Dorel Industries Inc. (TSX:DII.B) is closing an assembly and testing facility in Pennsylvania and moving a research and development unit in Connecticut in a cost-reduction effort at its Recreational and Leisure segment, which makes bicycles. Dorel says about 100 employees will be affected globally. Dorel shares were down 30 cents to $40.91.Canadian cheesemaker Saputo Inc. (TSX:SAP) has emerged victorious in a bidding war for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter after Australia’s largest dairy producer called off the battle. The Murray Goulburn Co-Operative will sell its shares to Saputo, and expects to receive at least AU$92.8 million cash in return. Saputo shares rose 24 cents to $52.93.McDonald’s Corp. earned $1.4 billion, or $1.40 per share, in the fourth quarter, which is a penny more than Wall Street expected. The world’s biggest hamburger chain also reported that global sales slipped 0.1 per cent at established locations. In the U.S., where it recently revamped its Dollar Menu, the figure fell 1.4 per cent. McDonald’s shares rained 23 cents to US$95.11.Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) says it’s laying off 475 employees worldwide, adding to the 700 positions it has eliminated over the past six months. The decision comes nearly two weeks after the retailer lowered its fourth-quarter profit outlook as it grapples with the fallout of a massive security breach. Shares of the retailer fell 37 cents to $58.61.In Europe, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.6 per cent to 9,662 and the FTSE 100 index of leading British companies lost 0.3 per cent to 6,804. But France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3 per cent to 4,312.Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8 per cent to close at 15,695.89 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 1.5 per cent to 22,733.90. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.2 per cent to 1,947.59.The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China retreated 0.5 per cent to 2,042.18. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.1 per cent to 5,263.00.
EuroChem, one of the world’s top 10 producers of mineral fertilisers, has started operation of its crushing and processing plant in Zhanatas, in the South Kazakh region of Zhambyl. LOESCHE technology is at the heart of the plant, helping to develop the large-scale phosphate rock deposit – the most important raw material for the production of phosphate-containing fertilisers. EuroChem selected a LOESCHE mill type LM 24.2, with the proven vertical roller mill technology, for the production of ground phosphate.“As the pioneer in vertical roller mills technology LOESCHE has been successfully constructing and supplying phosphate mills worldwide since the 1960s. For this project, LOESCHE’s contract includes the delivery, planning and installation of the grinding plant, which has a capacity of 600,000 t/y. The plant was realised and put into operation on site by LOESCHE GUS in close cooperation with the LOESCHE headquarters as well as LOESCHE Automation GmbH.”The plant has been successfully operating since the first quarter of 2016. During a performance test of 72 h, “the new grinding plant proved to operate to the client’s utmost satisfaction. During this operation, the plant not only reached all contractual guaranteed values, but even significantly exceeded the guaranteed production capacity. Furthermore, a further 15% specific energy consumption was saved compared to the original guaranteed values.”Thanks to the successful start and the good cooperation, EuroChem has invited LOESCHE GUS to submit their quotation for two additional mills for a chemical processing plant that is currently being planned. A spare parts and service package is also being offered for the existing plant.Construction of the complete fertiliser plant is still underway, with an investment of approximately $150 million. When construction is concluded in 2018, the plant will boast an annual production of some 300,000 t NPK fertiliser (NPK fertilisers are three-component fertilizers providing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), 600,000 t potassium sulphate, 660,000 t dicalcium phosphate (DCP), 1.2 Mt gypsum, 390,000 t calcium chloride, as well as 120 000 t magnesium sulphate.The phosphate products produced supply both the local and international markets, thus securing the supply of any EuroChem finishing plants and contributing to a further increase in the development of the region.
Clariant, a world leader in mining and other specialty chemicals, today acknowledges the investment by chemical industry peer and partner SABIC, which has acquired a 24.99% stake in Clariant. The acquisition of these stakes, which were previously held by White Tale and 40 North, makes SABIC the largest Clariant shareholder.As is customary in the industry, Clariant was informed of SABIC’s intention to acquire the shares prior to the transaction. SABIC is one of the major global chemical companies, with a significant specialty chemicals business and a partner of Clariant in the Catalyst joint venture Scientific Design. Clariant intends to engage with SABIC over the coming weeks in order to discuss the new situation and explore possible ways to create value. Clariant will also continue the existing dialogue with all its other shareholders.