News Column

Solid Thursday for stocks

February 6, 2014



BCE grows earnings







The Toronto stock market was higher Thursday, supported in part by a well-received earnings report from telecom giant BCE Inc. and positive U.S. jobs data.

The S&P/TSX composite index pointed up 153.71 points, or 1.1%, to end Thursday at 13,713.40

The Canadian dollar regained 0.10 cents to 90.33 cents U.S.

BCE posted quarterly adjusted net earnings of $540 million or 70 cents a share, beating estimates by a penny. BCE also upped its dividend 6% to $2.47 a year and its shares gained 93 cents, or 2.1%, to $46.30.

Elsewhere in Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart posted adjusted earnings of $172 million, or 86 cents a share, which met expectations, and its shares added three cents to $58.07.

In other corporate news, Bombardier shares gained seven cents to $4.20 after the British government said that it intends to award a $1.6-billion U.S. contract to the Canadian transport giant to supply trains and a depot for London's transportation system.

Base metals stocks advanced, with March copper up four cents at $3.23 U.S. a pound. Teck Resources climbed 53 cents, or 2%, to $26.88.

The energy sector climbed as Imperial Oil gushed 91 cents to $46.09, and Suncor acquired 58 cents to $35.79

Financials also gave the TSX a boost, as RBC prospered 90 cents to $69.98, while Scotiabank gained $1.05 to $61.99

The gold sector declined, as Barrick Gold dropped a dime to $20.46 and Goldcorp shares were unchanged at $27.48.

On matters economic, figures released by Statistics Canada revealed that our merchandise imports grew 1.2% and exports increased 0.9% in December. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world widened from $1.5 billion in November to $1.7 billion in December.

Western University's Ivey purchasing managers' index expanded at a faster rate than expected in January, easing concerns over the country's economic outlook, industry data showed on Thursday.

Richard Ivey School of Business said its purchasing managers' index rose to 56.8 last month from a reading of 46.3 in December. Analysts had expected the index to increase to 51.0 in January.

A figure above 50.0 indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange improved 10.30 points to 952.80

Only gold suffered today, sliding 0.4%. The rest of the 14 Toronto subgroups hiked, led by metals and mining, charging ahead 2.5%, while energy and telecoms gained 1.7%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks got a boost Thursday as investors welcomed some good news about the jobs market ahead of the U.S. government's all-important monthly employment report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 188.30 points, or 1.2%, to close 15,628.53.

The S&P 500 index added 21.79 points to 1,773.43. The NASDAQ grew 45.57 points to 4,057.12.

Despite the day's gains, the three main indexes are still down about 5% from their most recent highs.

Shares of Twitter plunged more than 20% after the company released its first quarterly results since going public last year. Investors were disappointed by a forecast of slower sales growth.

General Motors shares were slightly higher even though the auto giant reported earnings that fell short of estimates. Revenue was roughly in line with forecasts.

Sony shares initially declined after the company announced a series of major changes and warned it would lose $1 billion U.S. this year. But they turned higher as investors welcomed news that the company is selling its Vaio PC unit, spinning out its television business and cutting 5,000 jobs.

Disney helped lead the Dow higher. The media conglomerate's stock was up 5% thanks to solid sales and earnings. Strength in the company's cable network unit, which includes ESPN, and the movie studio unit helped lead the way. Disney had a huge box office smash in its latest quarter with the animated movie "Frozen."

Also on the bright side, shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters soared almost 30% on news that the firm is partnering with Coca-Cola on its forthcoming cold-beverage-brewing system. The Keurig Cold system will be likely be released in late 2014 or 2015.

Though SodaStream will face competition from the new product, its shares were up 10% following the announcement after a report from Citron Research suggested that Coke's archrival Pepsi may want to strike a deal with SodaStream so it could also enter the at-home beverage market.

Akamai Technologies, an Internet content delivery network, surged almost 20% after a strong earnings report.

AOL shares lost ground, though shares were higher in morning trading after the company's quarterly revenue came in higher than expectations thanks to stronger ad sales.

LinkedIn will report earnings after the closing bell.

Economically speaking, investors were encouraged after fewer-than-expected Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. The data is a positive sign ahead of the January jobs report, which will be released Friday.

One survey of economists is forecasting 178,000 jobs were created in January, up from only 74,000 jobs the prior month, with an unemployment rate of 6.7%.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries faded, raising yields to 2.70% from Wednesday's 2.67%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices took on 38 cents to $97.81 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gave back 20 cents to $1,256.70 U.S. an ounce.



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Source: Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada)


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