TSX moves higher amid rising commodities
TORONTO - The Toronto stock market was little changed Wednesday amid a slew of earnings news and rising commodity prices.
The S&P/TSX composite index edged up 3.09 points to 12,792.11 while the TSX Venture Exchange was up 8.97 points to 1,207.91.
The Canadian dollar was down 0.08 of a cent to 99.65 cents US.
U.S. indexes were generally weak as January retail sales met expectations with the Dow Jones industrials ahead 2.57 points to 14,021.27.
The Nasdaq was 17.4 points higher to 3,203.89 and the S&P 500 index gained 4.95 points to 1,524.38.
U.S. retail sales ticked up 0.1 per cent last month after a 0.5 per cent rise in December. January’s increase was in line with expectations and was the smallest in three months after higher taxes cut into Americans’ wages.
"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.
Talisman Energy Inc. (TSX:TLM) 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 13 cents to $12.69.
Thomson Reuters (TSX:TRI) 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 per cent decline. However, revenue from continuing operations was up two per cent from US$3.3 billion. Its shares were down $1.12 to C$29.60.
Shares in CAE Inc. (TSX:CAE) were down 14 cents to $10.65 as the flight simulator builder said restructuring, integration and acquisition costs contributed to a reduced profit its fiscal third quarter. Montreal-based CAE says net income attributable to equity holders was $37.8 million or 15 cents per share, down from $45.6 million or 18 cents per share a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was up 15 per cent to $522.1 million.
Vancouver-based heavy-equipment dealer Finning International Inc. (TSX:FTT) posted adjusted earnings that missed analyst estimates — coming in at 55 cents per share, two cents short of the consensus. Quarterly revenue slipped to $1.78 billion — about two per cent below a record $1.81 billion set a year earlier and nearly $100 million below a consensus estimate. Its shares were unchanged at $26.36.
Traders are also taking in earnings during the day from Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF) along with gold producers Kinross Gold (TSX:K) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM).
In the U.S., farm and construction equipment maker Deere & Co. says its first-quarter net income leaped 22 per cent to $649.7 million or $1.65 per share. Revenue rose almost 10 per cent 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 $1.40 to $92.57.
Commodity prices were mainly higher as March copper was up a penny to US$3.75 a pound and the base metals sector was up 0.73 per cent. First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) gained 33 cents to C$20.43.
The March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 30 cents to US$97.81 a barrel amid falling U.S. inventories. A report late Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute showed a drop of 2.3 million barrels in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. If confirmed by data from the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration to be released later Wednesday, it would be the first fall in crude supplies in over a month.
A survey of analysts by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., was expecting crude stocks to have risen by 2.5 million barrels.
The energy sector was flat while Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) gave back 28 cents to C$42.38.
The financials sector rose 0.2 per cent while Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) advanced 24 cents to $62.97.
The information technology sector was the leading decliner, down 1.4 per cent with BlackBerry (TSX:BB) down 34 cents to $14.91 while CGI Group (TSX:GIB.A) dropped $1.12 to $27.21.
The gold sector fell 0.3 per cent as April bullion on the Nymex declined $5.70 to US$1,643.90 an ounce. Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD) shed nine cents to C$10.94.
African Barrick Gold PLC (LSE:ABG) swung to a big loss in the fourth quarter as a major increase in its cost of sales more than offset slightly higher revenues. The company, majority owned by Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX), posted a net loss of just under US$46 million or 8.5 cents per share, down from a year-earlier profit of $55.1 million. Revenue rose to US$287.9 million from US$285.2 million. Barrick Gold faded 31 cents to C$32.24.
Overseas, European bourses were positive with London's FTSE 100 index edging up 0.52 per cent. Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.78 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.52 per cent.