TSX to head higher amid solid Chinese data, major disappointment from Apple | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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TSX to head higher amid solid Chinese data, major disappointment from Apple

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market was set for a positive open Thursday amid a further indication that China is digging itself out of a slump and an earnings disappointment from Apple Inc.

The Canadian dollar could be headed for its first close below parity with the American currency since mid-November of last year, down 0.2 of a cent to 99.9 cents US. That was on top of a loss of just shy of 2/3 of a cent Wednesday after the Bank of Canada cuts its economic forecast, kept its key rate at one per cent and indicated that it won't move higher until 2014.

U.S. futures were lacklustre with the Dow Jones industrial futures up seven points to 13,726, the Nasdaq futures fell 34.8 points to 2,724.2 while the S&P 500 futures slipped 3.25 points to 1,487.

Apple stock was down nine per cent in pre-market trading in New York after the company warned Wednesday after the close that the huge sales growth of the last five years is slowing drastically, as iPhone sales are starting to plateau.

Apple’s net income in the fiscal first quarter was US$13.1 billion, or $13.81 per share, flat with a year ago. That still beat expectations, as analysts polled by FactSet had forecast earnings of $13.48 per share. But it was the first time in years that Apple didn’t post a double-digit earnings increase.

There was good news from the world's second-biggest economy as China’s manufacturing crept higher in January to the fastest pace in two years. A preliminary version of HSBC’s monthly purchasing managers’ index rose for the fifth month in a row to 51.9 in January from 51.5 in December. Readings above 50 on the 100-point scale indicate an expansion.

The report is further evidence that China’s economy is undergoing a modest recovery from a downturn sparked by the 2008 world financial crisis.

Its economy expanded 7.9 per cent in the final quarter of last year, up from 7.4 per cent in the previous quarter. For all of 2012, the economy expanded 7.8 per cent, the slowest annual performance since the 1990s.

The Chinese data helped push oil prices higher.

The March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 32 cents to US$95.55 a barrel after falling $1.45 on Wednesday. The decline came after crude shipments through the Seaway pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to refineries on the Gulf Coast had to be cut to less than half because of limited endpoint capacity.

However, copper prices declined for a second day, down a cent to US$3.67 a pound.

Bullion also declined with the February contract on the Nymex down $9.70 to US$1,677 an ounce.

Investors were also encouraged by developments in Washington, where the U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to avert the imminent threat of a government default by suspending the debt limit.

European bourses were mixed amid surveys showing a smaller than forecast contraction in both manufacturing and services in the 17-country eurozone this month.

London’s FTSE 100 index gained 0.36 per cent but Frankfurt’s DAX declined 0.04 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was off 0.01 per cent.

Stock markets in Asia were boosted from HSBC Bank’s preliminary survey on China’s monthly manufacturing.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1.3 per cent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.5 per cent to its highest close since May 2011. Benchmarks in Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines also rose.

In other corporate news, Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) says its preliminary estimates show fourth-quarter earnings were above its previous guidance. The Calgary-based fertilizer producer says it earned slightly more than $2 per diluted share, excluding certain items. The guidance had been for between $1.50 to $1.90 per share.

Conglomerate 3M, which makes Post-it notes, industrial products, and construction materials, says fourth-quarter net income rose 3.9 per cent to $991 million, or $1.41 per share. That matched analysts’ expectations. Revenue rose four per cent to $7.39 billion, beating expectations of $7.17 billion and its shares climbed 0.4 per cent in pre-market trading.

3M Co.’s businesses cover a wide range of industries and it gets its sales from all over the globe, so its results are a closely-watched economic bellwether.

Mobile phone maker Nokia Corp. reported a fourth-quarter net profit of €202 million but revenue in the period fell 20 per cent to €8 billion from a year earlier. The Finnish company gave a poor outlook saying it expects operating margins in the first quarter 2013 to be “approximately negative two per cent, plus or minus four percentage points.” Nokia cited increased competition as it struggles against the dominance of market leaders Samsung and Apple Inc.’s iPhone. Its shares were down four per cent in pre-market trading in New York.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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