News Column

Stocks nudge higher at open

February 26, 2014

Encana in focus

Stock markets in Toronto enjoyed only a modestly higher open on Wednesday, as worries over opaque policy moves in China threatened to negate positive economic data from Germany and the U.K.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 15.11 points to open Wednesday at 14,204.09

The Canadian dollar faded 0.10 cents to 90.10 cents U.S.

Royal Bank of Canada's quarterly profit topped analysts' estimates, rising 2% on the back of higher capital markets income, and the bank raised its dividend by 6%. RBC shares dipped eight cents to $72.62

Sears Canada posted a fall in quarterly same-store sales due to severe winter weather and power outages. Sears shares began the day unchanged at $13.30

Encana Corp. and Chesapeake Energy are negotiating civil settlements with the state of Michigan to try to end its criminal investigation into whether the energy companies colluded to keep oil and gas lease prices artificially low in the state. Encana declined 27 cents to $20.88

Economically speaking, German consumer morale rose to its highest level in seven years heading into March as shoppers in Europe's biggest economy became more upbeat about their future income.


The TSX Venture Exchange gained 2.41 points to 1,013.15.

Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher, led by health-care, gaining 1.1%, information technology, prospering 0.8%, and the metals and mining group, stronger by 0.6%.

The half-dozen laggards followed energy stocks lower. Energy stocks were down 0.4%, while gold trailed Tuesday's close by 0.3%, real-estate by 0.2%.


Stocks were mixed early Wednesday as investors digested a big batch of earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sagged 13.30 points to begin trading Wednesday at 16,166.36

The S&P 500 index dipped 0.03 points to 1,845.09. The NASDAQ gained 8.64 points to 4,296.23

Barnes & Noble shares jumped after the troubled bookstore chain swung to a quarterly profit thanks to cost-cutting measures. The company also announced plans to introduce a new colour Nook in early fiscal 2015.

Shares for Abercrombie & Fitch rose after the teen clothing retailer announced a decline in revenue and profit that still managed to beat expectations.

Target shares were also higher even after the company blamed a data breach for a quarterly drop in revenue and profit.

Anheuser-Busch InBev shares gained ground after the brewer, which makes Budweiser and Stella Artois, reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results and outlined plans to boost sales during the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

On the downside, Credit Suisse shares slipped after a U.S. Senate report released Tuesday outlined how the Swiss bank helped clients hide billions from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The bank's executives will appear before the Senate Wednesday.

Shares of First Solar fell 10% after reporting earnings that missed expectations.

Sturm Ruger shares tumbled even after the gun company delivered strong gains in sales and profit due to the launch of new products.

After the close, Baidu and J.C. Penney will report results.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries were unchanged, keeping yields at Tuesday's 2.70%.

Oil prices moved higher 55 cents to $102.38 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gave back $10.00 to $1,332.70 U.S. an ounce.

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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)

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