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TSX little changed amid Suncor earnings miss, lower commodity prices

Canadian dollar coins, or "loonies," are shown with U.S dollars April 6, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
February 06, 2013 - 6:53 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market was slightly higher Wednesday amid lower commodity prices and earnings misses from Canada's energy sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index was ahead 16.35 points to 12,762 while the TSX Venture Exchange slipped 1.61 points to 1,213.66.

Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) shares fell $1.09 or 3.17 per cent to $33.29 after it said late Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net loss was $562 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with net earnings of $1.43 billion, or 91 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Results at the country's biggest energy company were impacted by a $1.49-billion charge related to its long-shelved and economically "challenged" Voyageur oilsands upgrader.

Without the Voyageur charge, Suncor’s operating earnings were $1 billion in the quarter, or 65 cents per share. That missed the average analyst estimate of 76 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.16 of a cent to 100.22 cents US.

U.S. indexes were lower with the Dow industrials down 53.75 points at 13,925.55. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 9.97 points to 3,161.61 and the S&P 500 index shed 5.39 points to 1,505.9.

North American indexes finished higher Tuesday in the wake of strong purchasing managers data from both the eurozone and China.

It was the latest in a series of strong advances that took the TSX up two per cent during January while New York markets performed even better, with the Dow industrials rising six per cent to a fresh five year high. But analysts question if the market is set for a pullback.

The energy sector was the leading decliner as Husky Energy Inc. (TSX:HSE) also missed expectations and the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell $1.25 to US$95.39 a barrel.

Husky's quarterly net income was C$474 million, or 48 cents per share, down from $526 million or 53 cents per share a year earlier. Husky’s adjusted income amounted to 50 cents per share, six cents per share below the consensus estimate and its shares were off 45 cents to $30.92.

The consumer staples sector led gainers with convenience store chain Alimentation Couche-Tard ahead 45 cents to $50.69.

The gold sector was ahead 0.35 per cent while April bullion gained $2.30 to US$1,675.80 an ounce. Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) gained 32 cents to C$32.74.

March copper on the Nymex slipped three cents to US$3.74 a pound and the base metals sector edged up 0.24 per cent. Hudbay Minerals (TSX:HBM) gained 20 cents to C$11.51.

In other earnings news, WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX: WJA) shares gained 17 cents to $22.72 after it said net earnings in the most recent quarter were $60.9 million or 46 cents per diluted share on revenue of $860.6 million. That was up more than 70 per cent from net earnings of $35.6 million or 26 cents per share on revenue of $781.5 million in the same 211 period. Full-year profit soared 63 per cent to $242.4 million from $148.7 million. WestJet also boosted its quarterly dividend by two cents to 10 cents per share.

TMX Group Limited (TSX:X) shares advanced $2.32 or 4.18 per cent to $57.80 as it posted a profit of $32.8 million or 61 cents a share in the final quarter of 2012. Revenue came in at $181.1 million.

On an adjusted basis, the company that operates Canada’s largest stock exchange reported 95 cents per share of earnings after excluding the cost related to some acquisitions and to its restructuring last year.

Intact Financial Corp. (TSX:IFC) says its net profit soared to $181 million in the fourth quarter, as the property and casualty insurer benefited from improved operating results and higher investment gains. The company also says its quarterly dividend will rise by 10 per cent to 44 cents per share and its stock improved by a dime to $65.78.

European bourses were mixed as London's FTSE 100 index gained 0.25 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX declined 1.51 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 was down 1.82 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was the stock market standout, surging 3.8 per cent to its highest level since September 2008 as the yen slid to a three-year low against the dollar on news the country’s central bank governor will resign earlier than planned.

Some investors took it as a sign that his replacement will be more likely to comply with the new government’s wish to ease monetary policy and cheapen the yen, which would help make Japanese products more competitive in international markets.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 per cent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.8 per cent. In mainland China, the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.5 per cent while the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 per cent.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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