CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP):South Africa showed some fight in the second Test yesterday, with Hashim Amla’s 157 not out helping cut England’s lead to 276 as the home team reached 353-3 at stumps on the third day.Amla, the South Africa captain, eased the pressure on himself and his top-ranked team with his 24th Test century and first since December 2014.He shared partnerships of 183 with A.B. de Villiers (88) and an unbroken 85 with Faf du Plessis. South Africa lost just one wicket for 212 runs on the day.England, after a huge first-innings total of 629-6 declared, were finding it tough to take wickets on a serene batting pitch at Newlands, which has been so good for the batsmen that 982 runs were scored over three days.”Tricky day for us,” England fast bowler Steven Finn said. “One wicket in a day is obviously not ideal for what we wanted from this day … but we’re still a long way ahead in the game.”England also already lead the four-match series 1-0, leaving South Africa effectively batting to stay alive in the contest.”We were behind the eight ball on day one,” Du Plessis said. “England played really well and we needed a really resilient performance to get back in the Test match and that’s what we did.”England’s lone breakthrough came just before tea when De Villiers, looking to push on, mistimed a pull shot off Finn. The ball flew to James Anderson, who knocked it up in the air at midwicket and completed the catch.Frustratingly for England, both Amla and De Villiers should have been out much earlier but for dropped catches. Joe Root put De Villiers down at slip off the bowling of Anderson late on the second day and very early in De Villiers’ knock. In a twist of irony, Anderson dropped Amla off Root’s bowling when the South African skipper was on 76. Amla was dropped again on 120 by Nick Compton.”Obviously we’re disappointed to not take them but no one means to drop catches,” Finn said.De Villiers hit 12 fours and a six, while Amla returned to form with a big century, hitting 21 fours.With South Africa in a slump, Amla’s lack of form and captaincy had come under scrutiny. When he passed 50, it was for the first time since the New Year test in Cape Town a year ago, ending a drought of 11 innings without a meaningful score.
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed lower Wednesday amid a slew of earnings news and negative moves in commodity prices.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,775.28 -13.74 -0.11%S&P 500 — 1,520.33 +0.90 0.06%Dow — 13,982.91 -35.79 -0.26%Nasdaq — 3,196.88 +10.39 0.33%The S&P/TSX composite index declined 13.74 points to 12,775.28 while the TSX Venture Exchange was up 5.28 points at 1,204.23.The Canadian dollar gained 0.09 of a cent to 99.82 cents US.U.S. indexes were mixed as January retail sales met expectations, with the Dow Jones industrials down 35.79 points to 13,982.91.The Nasdaq was 10.39 points higher at 3,196.88, supported by Amazon.com Inc., which has struck a deal with CBS Corp. to expand the networks’s content made available to Amazon’s Prime video streaming service.Amazon stock ran up 4.16% to US$269.47. The S&P 500 index edged up 0.9 of a point to 1,520.33.U.S. retail sales ticked up 0.1% last month after a 0.5% rise in December. January’s increase was in line with expectations and was the smallest in three months after higher taxes cut into the wages of Americans.“However, given continued job gains through the start of this year, we are assuming that this slowing in sales will prove temporary and that greater strength will emerge going forward,” said RBC assistant chief economist Paul Ferley.Analysts think that trading is taking place amid rising caution as a March 1 deadline looms that would see steep automatic spending cuts take effect to the tune of US$85 billion.“I think there is some reluctance to do much. I think that’s why our market has more or less, the last couple of weeks or so, hasn’t done a darned thing,” said Fred Ketchen, manager of equity trading at Scotia Capital.“It’s teaching everybody to have a little bit more patience than they would like to have.”On Wednesday, Jacob Lew, President Barack Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, urged Congress to avoid those cuts, warning they would impose “self-inflicted wounds to the recovery and put far too many jobs and businesses at risk.”Talisman Energy Inc. recorded US$367-million or 37 cents per share in quarterly net income, beating forecasts of 16 cents a share. But the gain was mainly due to disposal of some assets and the company continued to feel the effects of low natural gas prices. Talisman posted revenue of $1.6 billion, which was $300 million less than what was expected. Its shares erased early losses and gained 26 cents to $12.82.Thomson Reuters posted US$497-million of adjusted earnings, or 60 cents per share in the latest quarter, compared with US$445-million or 54 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2011. Net income attributable to common shareholders was US$372 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of US$2.6 billion. Thomson’s overall revenue, including discontinued operations, fell to $3.4 million from $3.6 billion, a five% decline. The company’s shares fell 70 cents to $30.02 as the company also forecast slow growth and tightening profit margins in 2013, and announced plans to cut 2,500 jobs.Cheese, dairy and bakery company Saputo Inc. had $130 million or 65 cents per share of net income in the latest quarter, a penny short of analyst estimates. Revenue at $1.8 billion also missed estimates by $100 million and its shares fell $1.12 to $49.70.In the U.S., farm and construction equipment maker Deere & Co. says its first-quarter net income jumped 22% to US$649.7 million or $1.65 per share. Revenue rose almost 10% to $7.42 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting earnings of $1.39 per share on revenue of $6.73 billion and its shares lost $3.29 to $90.68.The information technology sector was the leading decliner, down 3.5% with CGI Group down $1.21 to $27.12 while BlackBerry dropped $1.25 or 8.2% at $14. The stock has lost about 20% since Jan. 24, days before the company unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 product line. However, the stock had rallied almost 200% from its low of $6.10, chalked up late last September.The gold sector fell about 1.65% as April bullion on the Nymex declined $4.50 to US$1,645.90 an ounce, its lowest close since last August. Eldorado Gold shed 35 cents to C$10.68.Consumer and telecom stocks also pressured the TSX.The utilities sector led advancers, up 0.39% as TransAlta (climbed 16 cents to $16.35.The March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gave up early gains to move down 50 cents to US$97.01 a barrel despite a much less than expected rise in U.S. inventories. The U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said supplies rose by 560,000 barrels.A survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., showed crude stocks were expected to have risen by 2.5 million barrels. However, other data released Tuesday had showed inventories declined last week.The energy sector was ahead 0.3% while Canadian Natural Resources gained 25 cents to C$31.80.March copper backed off from early gains and was unchanged at US$3.74 a pound. Still, the base metals sector was up 0.2% and First Quantum Minerals gained 16 cents to C$20.26.Here’s the news investors were watching today:Smart money says it’s time to buy AppleCan the new BlackBerry topple Apple’s iPhone?BCE ranks high in the 17 best stocks for big fat dividendsPrecious metals ruled the fund worldON DECK THURSDAYG20 finance ministers and central bankers meet in Moscow ECONOMIC NEWSBank of Japan announces interest rate decision UNITED STATES8:30 a.m.Weekly jobless claims: Economists expect CORPORATE NEWSCANADABarrick Gold Q4 earnings: Analysts expect $1.06 Goldcorp Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 46¢ CI Financial Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 35¢ Encana Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 31¢ Precision Drilling Q4 earnings: Analysts expect $1.15 Cenovus Energy Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 54¢ Canfor Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 14¢ UNITED STATESPepsiCo Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.05 a share CBS Corp Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 71¢ Molson Coors Brewing Co Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 64¢ Campbell Soup Co Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 66¢ The J.M. Smucker Co Q3 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.39 Apache Corp Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$2.30