TSX higher amid heavy slate of earnings economic data

The Toronto stock market climbed higher Thursday amid a full slate of quarterly earnings from a number of Canadian heavyweights and positive economic data from China and the U.S.The S&P/TSX composite index jumped ahead 57.14 points to 12,469.87, while the Canadian dollar climbed 0.54 of a cent to 96.48 cents US.The TSX was boosted by data that showed China’s exports and imports both increased in July, beating expectations and easing concerns over the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. Exports were up 5.1 per cent from a year earlier, while imports jumped 10.9 per cent.“It’s a combination of things. There’s some positive data out of China today that is likely supporting the commodities space, both on the materials and energy side,”said Gareth Watson, vice-president of investment management and research at Richardson GMP Ltd. “Overall, the earnings are definitely helping but there is definitely a macro story to it as well.”It was also lifted by strong gains in the metals and mining sector, as shares in Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ) climbed nearly 13 per cent to $5.13 after it announced that Rio Tinto PLC was lending it US$600 million to help it fund its $6.2 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.Shares in HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) also rose 5.98 per cent, or 36 cents, to $6.38, while Capstone Mining (TSX:CS) shares went up 6.77 per cent or 13 cents to $2.05.The majority of sectors on the TSX saw gains, except for industrials, energy, telecom and utilities.On the commodities front, December bullion gained $20.30 to US$1,305.60 an ounce. The September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved down $1.80 to US$102.57 a barrel. Copper saw an uptick of nine cents to $3.27.Meanwhile, by midday, the U.S. indexes lost some of their early gains as the Dow Jones industrials dropped 36.48 points to 15,434.19, the S&P 500 dipped 0.28 of a point to 1,690.63, while the Nasdaq was ahead 4.36 points to 3,658.37.Watson said the fluctuations in the U.S. markets shouldn’t worry investors too much, considering the indexes are faring well overall year-to date.“Sometimes, in terms of that momentum we’ve been getting based off of economic data or earnings reports, it’s just tough sometimes to keep that momentum going,” he said. “We’ve had a really good stretch here since the beginning of July up until now. I think the market is just pacing itself, more than anything else.”In economic news, the latest figures showed that the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits over the past month has fallen to its lowest level in almost six years, signalling fewer layoffs and a strengthening U.S. economy. The U.S. Labor Department says the four-week average dropped 6,250 to 335,500 — the lowest level since November 2007, the month before the Great Recession began.For the past few months, concerns have been raised about when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin pulling back on its monetary stimulus by tapering its current $85-billion bond-buying program. Signs that this will happen sooner rather than later have prompted markets to get nervous any time the Fed gives away clues on the timing of this pullback.There was also a flurry of financial reports from across various sectors released Thursday.Tim Hortons Inc. (TSX:THI) says it’s going to borrow up to an additional $900 million to fund the repurchase of its shares.  It says it has received regulatory approval to buy back up to 10 per cent of its publicly traded shares, raising a previous spending limit set at $250 million.The Canadian restaurant company reported a 14.5 per cent increase in its second-quarter net income, which rose to $123.7 million from $108.1 million in the previous year. Total revenue for the company was $800.1 million, up 1.9 per cent from $785.6 million. Its shares rose 51 cents, or 0.86 per cent, to $60.BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) reported $571 million of net income attributable to common shareholders, or 74 cents per common share. That was down from $732 million or 94 cents per common share a year earlier.On an adjusted basis, the media and telecommunications giant earned $594 million or 77 cents per common share —  down from $747 million or 97 cents per share in the second quarter of 2012, when BCE’s profit was boosted by non-recurring items. Its shares fell 58 cents to $41.97.Meanwhile, shares in media giant Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B) dipped 14 cents to $46.71 after it reported a $45.1-million net loss attributable to shareholders and $52.9 million of adjusted income from continuing operations for its second quarter. The adjusted earnings equal 85 cents per basic share, up from 72 cents per share or $46.1 million in the second quarter of 2012. Its shares were up 25 cents to $47.10.Quebecor is the majority owner of Quebecor Media, which owns a variety of telecommunication, broadcasting and publishing businesses. The CRTC rejected its Sun News Network’s request to be carried on basic cable Thursday, saying that the upstart network does not meet the criteria for a mandatory distribution order.Sun News Network went on the air in April 2011. Three months ago, Sun News executives told the commission that anything short of mandatory carriage would spell the end of the channel. Last year, it lost $17 million, a situation Quebecor calls clearly unsustainable.

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