MOSCOW — Russia says it expects Venezuela to have problems repaying debt ahead of an upcoming payment on a Russian loan.Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told Russian state news agencies Tuesday “there will probably be problems,” adding that “everything now depends on the army, on the soldiers, on how true they will be to their service and oath.”Storchak says Venezuela owes Russia $3 billion with repayments twice a year of around $100 million, with the next due in March. Russia also has extensive commercial interests in Venezuela, including state oil company Rosneft’s partnership with Petroleos de Venezuela SA, a state company placed under sanctions Monday by the United States.Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the Kremlin shares the view of the Venezuelan government that the sanctions are “illegal.” He said Moscow views these sanctions as a tool of unfair competition on part of the United States.The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed in solidly negative territory Tuesday, dragged down by a more than three per cent drop in the metals and mining sector along with sharp pullbacks in both the industrial and energy sectors.The S&P/TSX composite index fell 66.16 points to 15,346.44 following a gain that exceeded more than 50 points on Monday.The Canadian dollar retreated for a third consecutive session after some impressive gains last week, closing down 0.34 of a U.S. cent at 81.43 cents.New York markets were mostly lower amid a mixed bag of earnings reports as investors tried to gauge the effect of the higher U.S. dollar on corporate profits.The Dow Jones industrial average was down 85.34 points at 17,949.59 after a plunge of more than 200 points Monday, while the S&P 500 shed 3.11 points to 2097.29. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq advanced 19.50 points to 5,014.10.On the commodity markets, the June crude contract closed down $1.27 at US$56.61 a barrel, while June gold rose $9.40 to US$1,203.10 an ounce and May copper fell three cents to US$2.70 cents a pound.“The volatility that we’ve been experiencing . . . to me it’s the market just being the market,” said Kash Pashootan, senior vice-president and portfolio manager at First Avenue Advisory in Ottawa, a Raymond James company.“The reason why we’re scratching out heads trying to determine where this volatility is coming from is primarily because we haven’t seen very much of it over the last four or five years.”After five years of above historical average returns, especially the U.S. market, and with equities fully valued, investors are not likely to be as patient with anything “other than perfection,” Pashootan said.“In many ways it’s healthy to see this type of volatility at this point in the cycle because if we didn’t have this volatility, we face the risk of stocks getting ahead of themselves and becoming over-valued and potentially building the next bubble that at some point will pop.”In corporate news, Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.B) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $64 million or 11 cents per share, down 40 per cent from $105 million or 18 cents per share a year earlier and three cents below the average analyst estimate as compiled by Thomson Reuters.Meanwhile, Teck announced a two-thirds cut in its dividend in response to current low commodity prices and the diversified miner’s outlook. It’s stock close down $1.09 or 6.44 per cent at $15.83.Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR), which reported higher quarterly earnings after markets closed Monday, saw its shares drop $2.57 or 3.08 per cent $80.78.And Canadian Pacific Railway, which reported an all-time quarterly profit of $320 million on Tuesday, nonetheless saw its shares drop $5.14 or 2.17 per cent to $232.12.“You’re seeing cautious profit-taking when it come to the rails as a result of the combined forces of these stocks not being under-valued and, arguably, a little bit expensive” at a time when investors are uncertain of the effect big drop in oil prices will have on the Canadian economy in the short to medium term, Pashootan said.
Normet and Oulu University have signed a partnership agreement to develop their co-operation. The two parties will initiate development, research and training co-operation to strengthen the development and testing conditions of vehicle technology.The ongoing transition in vehicle technology sets new challenges to players in the sector with the tightening of environmental legislation and changing needs of end customers. “At the same time, our personnel’s expertise is subject to new demands that we can answer with this partnership agreement signed with Oulu University of Applied Sciences,” states Heikki Ojala, Normet’s Vice President, Global R&D.“Normet is one of the northern Finland’s driving companies whose success radiates to a wide range of companies in supply chains throughout northern Finland. The success of these driving companies is important to safeguard employment and prosperity throughout our region. The Oulu University of Applied Sciences is responsible for the education of automobile and vehicle technology in half of the territory of Finland. The signed agreement is an important step towards closer cooperation between the parties, says Jukka Säkkinen, Director, Education, R&D and Innovation, Oulu University of Applied Sciences.