Toronto remains flat at noon
Thursday, February 07, 2013 00:20 PM EST Toronto remains flat at noon Earnings parade continues The Toronto stock market was little changed Thursday as traders concentrate on earnings reports from some of Canada’s biggest corporations in the resource, financial, telecom and transportation sectors. The S&P/TSX composite index shed 6.28 points to greet noon Thursday at 12,755.31 The Canadian dollar pointed downward 0.40 cents to 100.08 cents U.S. On the Canadian earnings front, telecom BCE Inc. said adjusted earnings rose at a more moderate 4.8% to 65 cents per share, a penny short of analyst estimates. BCE also raised its dividend by six cents to $2.33 per common share annually and its shares gained two cents to $44.54. Teck Resources Ltd. said its adjusted earnings for the latest quarter were $354 million or 61 cents per share, 13 cents above the consensus estimate. But its shares fell $1.73 or 4.72 per cent to $34.91 as Teck also warned that copper production is expected to fall to 340,000 to 360,000 tonnes in 2013, compared with 373,000 tonnes in 2012. The company cited declining output at the Quebrada Blanca mine in Chile and lower ore grades at Highland Valley Copper in Canada. In the meantime, improved economic performance in China, reflected in recent data showing stronger expansion in the country’s manufacturing sector, will help the miner in the future. Manulife Financial Corp. gained 12 cents to $14.53 as the insurer’s net profit soared to $1.06 billion in the fourth quarter, more than double analyst expectations. However, Manulife’s core earnings were disappointing at $537 million or 28 cents per share in the quarter, which was four cents below the consensus estimate. All-in revenue, including investment and other items, was just under $7.2 billion, $2.5 billion below analyst estimates. Air Canada dipped three cents to $2.42 as the carrier posted a fourth-quarter profit of $8 million, or three cents per diluted share, reversing a year-earlier net loss of $60 million. Operating revenue rose to $2.84 billion from just under $2.7 billion. The metals and mining sector declined, reflecting Teck’s decline, while March copper on the New York Mercantile Exchange gave up early gains and was down one cent at $3.73 U.S. a pound. Elsewhere in the sector, HudBay Minerals declined 35 cents to $11.22. The energy sector dropped with Cenovus Energy off 43 cents to $32.95. The gold sector was up Iamgold Corp. improved by 15 cents to $8.80. Consumer staples stocks gained ground with Shoppers Drug Mart ahead 79 cents to $42.43 after Canada’s largest pharmacy retailer reported its net income was $175 million in the fourth quarter, or 85 cents per share, down slightly from $176 million in the year earlier period. Shoppers is also raising its quarterly dividend by 7.5% to 28.5 cents per share. The tech sector was also higher with BlackBerry ahead 50 cents to $16.48, reflecting high hopes for the new Z10 smartphone and an upgrade in the stock to outperform from market perform from U.S. bank Wells Fargo. On the economic docket, Statistics Canada reported this morning that its new housing price index perked 0.2% in December, after a 0.1% increase the month before. Moreover, the nation’s number crunchers told us that the value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities slid 11.2% to $5.7 billion in December, following a 14.5% decline in November. Both residential and non-residential sectors announced fewer builds during the last month of 2012. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange slipped 5.70 points to 1,209.52 Of the 14 Toronto subgroups, gainers and losers were evenly divided. Gold led the former half, charging ahead 1%, while health-care issues gained 0.9% and consumer staples picked up 0.5%. The seven laggards were weighed mostly by metals and mining, down 1.9%, global base metals, declining 1.2%, and energy stocks, fading 0.5%. ON WALLSTREET Equities in New York dropped sharply as traders took in mixed economic news and a spate of earnings results The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 115.25 points to 13,871.30 The S&P 500 index fell 12.27 points to 1,499.85. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite gave back 21.75 points to 3,146.73 In corporate news, Akamai Technologies, which provides Internet content delivery, delivered weak fourth-quarter results and a disappointing revenue forecast. The lackluster news sent the company's stock plunging 16%, making it the biggest loser in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100. News Corp was also a big laggard after the media giant issued a downbeat earnings forecast for the year. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters shares tumbled on the company's weak outlook for sales growth. Sprint Nextel shares edged lower after the cell phone carrier reported a fourth-quarter loss in line with expectations. Shares of Sony dropped after the electronics manufacturer reported a surprising third-quarter loss. Alcatel Lucent posted another quarterly loss, yet shares rose on news that CEO Ben Verwaayen is resigning from his post. On the positive side, shares of Devry rallied after reporting better-than-expected earnings and revenue, and getting upgraded by JPMorgan Chase. Retailers were also big movers as they reported sales figures for January. Macy's rose after reporting an 11.7% rise in same-store sales for last month, topping forecasts. Gap, Costco and Limited Brands also posted better-than-expected January sales figures. Shares of Blackberry gained ground after the smartphone maker said the Canadian launch of its new Z10 smartphone was its best launch ever. Apple shares were in the spotlight after activist investor David Einhorn publicly called for the electronics maker to give some of its $137-billion U.S. cash hoard to back to shareholders in the form of preferred stock. LinkedIn headlines the group of companies reporting after markets close. Economically speaking, weekly initial jobless claims came in at 366,000, down 5,000 from the previous week but above forecasts. Meanwhile, the nation's business productivity dropped 2% in 2012's fourth quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than economists were expecting. This afternoon, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release data on consumer credit for December. Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury grew, lowering yields to 1.94% from Wednesday’s 1.97%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices took on 74 cents to $95.88 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices recovered $1.50 to $1,680.30 U.S. an ounce.
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