Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Bulls Haven't Been Corralled on the Toronto Stock Exchange after a Year of Impressive Gains, Analysts Still Expect Double-Digit Growth in Stock Valuations in 1994

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Bulls Haven't Been Corralled on the Toronto Stock Exchange after a Year of Impressive Gains, Analysts Still Expect Double-Digit Growth in Stock Valuations in 1994

Article excerpt

BUCKING Canada's economic doldrums, the bulls aboard the Toronto Stock Exchange express surprised nearly everybody by roaring through 1993 at full throttle.

Powered by a combination of slowly reviving corporate earnings, falling interest rates, and burgeoning exports of raw materials like lumber and steel, the Toronto exchange's performance forecast a national industrial revival. But other signs of renewal were hard to spot last year.

The market's TSE 300 index of leading stocks ended the year with a bang, reaching 4,321.43 points, a 29 percent rise from 3,350.44 at the end of 1992. That compares with about a 14 percent gain for the Dow Jones industrial average.

On July 6, the value of trades broke the $1 billion (Canadian; US$758 million) barrier for the first time. Average daily volume of $575 million was almost double 1992 levels.

"Last year was one of the best years on record for the TSE," says TSE chairman Fred Ketchen. "Canada is coming out of the most difficult recession since World War II. I think the market's performance is helping put confidence back into the minds of the Canadian consumer."

But it is clear that falling interest rates were also a big factor in the market's 1993 performance, as individuals abandoned bank accounts and other instruments in favor of mutual funds and individual stocks.

"People weren't getting the kind of returns people were accustomed to," Mr. Ketchen says. "Treasury bills that were paying 10 percent are now just 3 to 3.5 percent. That's quite a come-down. They also are realizing that the government isn't going to be able to look after them in their old age as they might have expected a few years ago."

Signs of economic revival are not quite as hard to find this year as they were last year, despite the onerous 11 percent unemployment rate. Investors appear to be gradually gaining confidence as profits return to big and small companies, analysts say.

Will 1994 be a repeat of 1993? Many analysts say they do not think so. The bull will be a little tired after the rush of last year. Still, many economists expect the Canadian economy to lead the industrialized world in growth of gross domestic product between 2. …

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