North American markets end higher as investors turn spotlight on Greek election

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market held onto most of its gains Friday on optimism that central banks are prepared to respond to the outcome of the Greek election this weekend, if required.The sentiment buoyed markets around the globe as well after the president of the European Central Bank said it would continue its “crucial role” of making sure the financial system has sufficient cash.The S&P/TSX composite index moved ahead 58.48 points to 11,524.90, up 0.2% for the week. The TSX Venture Exchange slipped 1.31 points to 1,251.02.The Canadian dollar was up 0.15 of a cent at 97.83 cents US.[np-related]Concerns have been growing over the elections in Greece on Sunday and whether Athens will be forced to leave the euro currency union if the elected party doesn’t support the tough austerity terms of the country’s financial bailout package. Greece’s exit from the euro could have a widespread impact on other European countries.Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse, suggested that if any swift action is needed, the central banks are likely at the ready.“You don’t want to let the market see you blink. You could see tremendous monetary support, whatever fashion necessary, right out of the chute in the wake of any need,” he said in a phone interview from Saskatoon, Sask.“It may be one of those situations in which having sold on the rumour you don’t get a lot more selling on the news.”On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was ahead 115.26 points at 12,767.17.The Nasdaq composite index rose 36.47 points to 2,872.80 and the S&P 500 index added 13.74 points to 1,342.84.On the TSX, metals and mining stocks rose 1.7%, with Sherritt International (TSX:S) up seven cents to $4.91.The information technology sector was 1.7% higher, partly on a five per cent gain in stock of Research In Motion, which was up 56 cents at $11.17.The energy sector gained 1.8% with the July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange closing 12 cents higher at US$84.03 a barrel, which is about flat with a week ago.July copper was up about three cents to US$3.38 a pound, while August gold shifted $8.50 higher to US$1,628.10 an ounce, ending the week up per cent. A series of Canadian data provided some insight into the domestic economy.The Canadian Real Estate Association reported that the number of homes sales last month fell 3.1% compared with April, but remained up from a year ago. Still, the organization updated its forecast for the year to see average home prices rise by 2.2% to $370,700 compared with an earlier expectation that they would fall 1.1%.Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales fell 0.8% in April to $49.1-billion, marking the third decline in four months, driven in particular by the aerospace product and parts industry and by the petroleum and coal products sector.“The economic stats here or south of the border, while mixed, continue to show the sort of modest growth that we’ve written and talked about ad nauseam for the past year and a half,” Gorman said.“It’s important to bear that in mind because we are very much focused on some of these macro issues emanating out of Europe, but we continue to make decent progress here in North America, and I think that will likely continue to be the case.”In Europe, markets have been focused on the Greek election on Sunday.The Bank of England and the U.K. government said they stand ready to offer up to 140 billion pounds (US$217-billion) in cheap loans to lenders that might have trouble raising money from credit markets, which could tighten up if results of the Greek elections spook investors.The European Central Bank, meanwhile, continues to offer unlimited amounts of cheap short-term loans as well, even though its chief, Mario Draghi, has warned that European governments need to make bold decisions to shore up confidence in the euro.Draghi said Friday that the ECB has supported banks against the ongoing debt crisis with $1-trillion ($1.26-trillion) in emergency credit to banks and that now it was the turn of governments to act.Germany, however, is reluctant to accept any big moves that might cost Berlin more money, such as jointly-issued eurobonds. Any solutions would be announced at a June 28 summit of world leaders.Bombardier Transportation (TSX:BBD.B) says it has signed a deal worth up to $1.6-billion to supply San Francisco with new rail cars, the latest in a string of major contracts signed with U.S. customers. Its shares gained 2.6% to $3.91.Heading into next week, investors will look to the U.S. Federal Reserve to provide an indication it is willing to provide another round of stimulus to help a slowing economy. The Fed makes its next interest rate announcement Tuesday.The Canadian Press read more

Ohio State wrestlers Logan Steiber Nick Heflin Big Ten champions

Ohio State redshirt-junior Logan Stieber takes down Notre Dame College sophomore Maurice Miller in the 141-pound match Nov. 15 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 29-11.Credit: Ethan Day / Lantern photographerA pair of Ohio State wrestlers are the Big Ten’s best in their respective weight classes.Senior Nick Heflin and redshirt-junior Logan Stieber joined exclusive company Sunday, taking home the Big Ten Championship in the 197-pound and 141-pound weight classes at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., according to an OSU press release.Steiber defeated Penn State freshman Zain Retherford, 7-3, in the 141-pound championship match to capture his third-straight conference crown. He became just the second OSU wrestler in program history to do so, joining Kevin Randleman, who wrestled for the Buckeyes from 1991-93.Steiber’s victory against Retherford comes as a bit of payback, as Retherford defeated the three-time conference champion in Dec. 15 in what was his first loss in just more than a year.Steiber is now 25-1 on the season, having won 16 consecutive matches since falling to Zetherford in December.Heflin was the conference runner up at 174 pounds in 2011, but took down Penn State sophomore Morgan McIntosh, 5-3, to capture the title Sunday.The senior has now won 14 straight matches, and the victory against McIntosh was the 95th of his career.With their victories, Steiber and Heflin automatically qualify for the 2014 NCAA Championships, set to take place March 20-22 in Oklahoma City.A total of five other Buckeyes also qualified for the NCAAs with their respective performances Sunday — 184-pound redshirt-sophomore Kenny Courts, 125-pound redshirt-freshman Nick Roberts, 133-pound Johnni DiJulius, 174-pound sophomore Mark Martin and heavyweight redshirt-freshman Nick Tavanello. Redshirt-senior Ian Paddock is set to wrestle in the 149-pound weight class as well after earning an at-large bid Wednesday.The Buckeyes finished fourth as a team with 86.5 points. Penn State took home the team championship with 140.5 points. read more