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Canada Stocks-tsx Steady; Brookfield Office Gain Offsets U.s. Budget Fears

[Flash90 photo] Despite the phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that marks the first time since the 1979 revolution that the two countries leaders spoke, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called on foreign leaders to maintain sanctions against Iran. Now is the time for the global community to maintain tough sanctions against Iran in order that it takes a different path on its nuclear program, Baird said in his Sept. 30 address at the UN General Assembly. Obama extended an olive branch to Iran during his speech at the General Assembly last week, promising that his administration would focus on improving tensions between Iran and the West over its nuclear program. Rouhani pledged to remove mutual uncertainties with full transparency, but only if Iran could continue uranium enrichment for what he said were peaceful purposes. Both Baird and Prime Minister Stephen Harper remain cautious about putting too much stock into Rouhanis charm offensive. Following Obamas UN address last week, Harper said he would not fault President Obama and our allies for trying, but my sincere advice would be, when it comes to the government of Iran, that we should carefully monitor deeds far more than words. Baird said Canada would like to see Iran put words into practice when it comes to its nuclear program, its support of terrorism and itshuman rights record. Sound bites do not remove threats to global security. Kind words, a smile and a charm offensive are not a substitute for real action, he said. Canadas relationship with Iran remains strained since Canada severed diplomatic ties with the regime last year, calling it a state sponsor of terrorism. We ended that diplomatic presence because of our increased uncertainty about the safety of our personnel in Iran and we will not return until we think those kinds of questions can be adequately addressed, Harper said. In November, Canada is planning to present the United Nations with a resolution condemning Irans human rights record.

government. Also dampening investor sentiment was political uncertainty in Italy, where some senators from Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right party looked ready to form a breakaway group unless the former premier backed down on his hard line to bring down Italy’s government and head to elections. As a midnight shutdown deadline approached, Democrats who control the U.S. Senate appeared confident that they would defeat Republicans’ efforts to delay “Obamacare” health reforms, which would enable them to send a “clean” funding bill back to the House of Representatives for a vote. “It’s politics impinging on capital markets, in a negative way,” said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. U.S. politicians are playing to their home crowds, he added. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 3.44 points, or 0.03 percent, at 12,847.52. In comparison, U.S. stocks were down sharply, and the TSX looked set to outperform the S&P 500 in the third quarter. The Canadian index will do better than its U.S. counterpart in the fourth quarter as well, said Cockfield, who expects the TSX to end the year at 13,500.

Canada GDP rebounds with highest growth in 2 years

Photograph by: Canadian Press , Financial Post OTTAWA a Canadaas economy rebounded in July, growing at the fastest monthly pace in two years, as the impact of the Alberta floods and construction strikes in Quebec in June receded. Gross domestic product grew 0.6% in July, matching the pace for the same month in 2011, Statistics Canada said Monday. The recovery was led by the construction, manufacturing and energy sectors. Economists had expected slightly weaker GDP growth of 0.5% in July, following a 0.5% drop in the previous month and a milder 0.2% advance in May. Related The strong performance in July puts the economy on course for around 2% annualized growth in Q3, up from growth of 1.7% between April and June but still weaker than the 2.2% pace in the first quarter of this year. The Bank of Canada has forecast 3.8% growth for the third quarter. Statistics Canada said Monday construction activity increased 1.9% in July, recouping much of the 2.1% loss in the previous month, with the rebound partly due to the end of the Quebec labour dispute. Manufacturing was up 1.1% in July, following a 1% decline a month earlier, while mining, oil and gas extraction increased 1.4% after a flat reading in June. Construction also rebounded, up 1.9% from a decline of 2.1% in June. Wholesale trade, rose 1.6% in July after drop of 2.6%, appearing to benefit from more normal activity following the flood and labour disruptions, as well. Alberta registered 2.8% growth a on higher sales of building materials and supplies a and Quebec gained 1.1%. Retail trade was up 0.6% after a 1.4% drop a month earlier. aThe snappy rebound in July confirms that the economyas June swoon was driven by temporary special factors, and was not the start of new ugly trend,a said Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. aStill, the bigger story here is that underlying growth is still just quietly grinding along at a modest pace of between 1.5% and 2%, not enough to meaningful reduce the jobless rate or to quicken the pulse at the Bank of Canada,a he said. aThis above-consensus reading will have no impact on the bankas outlook, since growth for the entire quarter is still likely to come in well shy of their initial expectations.a A Copyright (c) National Post A