Investors face realities in Cyprus this week, while BlackBerry reports earnings

TORONTO – North American markets will have eyes turned to the eurozone this week as an effort to organize a Cyprus bailout of its banking system left plenty of uncertainty.

It’s a shortened trading week, which could lead to more erratic shifts in the direction of stock markets ahead of the Good Friday holiday.

Cyprus secured a package of rescue loans in tense, last-ditch negotiations early Monday, two EU diplomats said, saving the country from a banking system collapse and bankruptcy.

Without a deal, Cyprus and its banks would have faced face a financial collapse which could have had repercussions across the 17 nations in the eurozone.

The troubles in Cyprus have left investors feeling the economic instability that faces other European economies, like Greece, and how it could spread to demand for key commodities like oil and copper.

“I think we’ll see a bit of volatility back in the markets, probably not just for the next couple of days, but the next couple of months,” said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer of Sun Life Global Investment.

“We’re going to have to deal with the debt ceiling issue, and the fact that the (economic) picture may not be as rosy as people initially thought, in Canada and the eurozone.”

Adatia said that troubles in Cyprus will raise questions about whether other parts of the eurozone might also need bailouts in the coming months.

“People forgot about it until Cyprus popped up again,” he said.

In Canada, earnings are due on Thursday morning from BlackBerry, the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker, which released its latest models to several international markets last month.

The company’s fourth-quarter earnings will be a glimpse into how well the smartphones are selling in Canada, the U.K. and India, though details on its U.S. launch and other markets won’t be part of the financial report until next earnings period.

“It will be a good chance for a window into what the initial feedback is on how well, or not, it’s selling in a few key markets,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer, BMO Harris Private Banking.

BlackBerry hopes the new version of its smartphones will help prevent further erosion of its customer base in many countries where Apple’s iPhone and Android devices have captured a stronghold on the market.

A sparse schedule of economic data includes Canadian consumer price index numbers for February, due on Wednesday. The data is expected to show that inflation jumped 0.7 per cent, on higher gasoline prices, according to consensus expectations from BMO Economic Research.

Real GDP at basic prices, scheduled for Thursday, is expected to show a modest increase helped by output from the energy sector. Consensus expectations are for a 0.1 per cent rise.

In the U.S., the latest ISM survey on durable goods orders, due Tuesday, is expected to show an increase of 3.8 per cent, according to a consensus of analysts compiled by CIBC World Markets.