Small Stocks, Big Moves in the TSX

Big moves from some small stocks weren’t enough to carry the TSX into positive territory on Thursday.

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The S&P/TSX Composite Index (TSX:^OSPTX) finished Thursday down a mere 41 points or 0.33%, however, underlying this apparent calm were some very significant moves within the Index.

Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC.A) was the biggest positive contributor on the day.  The stock soared 11.2% after the company announced it will undergo a Loblaw-esque real estate spin.

Two other stocks that have been beaten down of late were up big as well, although because of their small weights, they didn’t contribute much.

Much maligned Extendicare (TSX:EXE) announced that it will be splitting its Canadian and U.S. divisions.  The market liked this idea and sent the shares 16% higher.

Atlantic Power (TSX:ATP) is another stock that the market has beaten down.  ATP was up 14.2% today after announcing better than expected quarterly results.

Holding the index down on the day was a collection of bank stocks.  Royal Bank (TSX:RY) was the biggest drag, falling 0.80%, but TD Bank (TSX:TD) and Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS) were close behind with respective declines of 0.7% and 0.6%.

One has to think the comments made at yesterday’s Ira Sohn conference in New York by hedge fund manager Steve Eisman had something to do with today’s decline for the banks.

Eisman is very bearish on the Canadian housing market, and banks are a natural (although perhaps not overly reasonable) target for those that agree with his thesis.

In general, North American markets went into a bit of an afternoon swoon after Fed Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser mentioned he’d like to see the central bank start reducing the rate at which it buys bonds as soon as the next meeting in June.  Not the kind of thing equities like to here.  We’ll be able to gauge by tomorrow’s market action if these remarks have been schluffed off, or if they are actually being taken seriously.

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Fool contributor Iain Butler does not own any of the companies mentioned in this report at this time.  The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above.

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