TSX heads for flat open amid mixed earnings reports from corporate Canada | iNFOnews

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TSX heads for flat open amid mixed earnings reports from corporate Canada

February 07, 2013 - 5:29 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked set to start Thursday's session little changed as traders concentrate on earnings reports from some of Canada's biggest corporations in the resource, financial, telecom and transportation sectors.

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.03 of a cent to 100.42 cents US.

U.S. futures were flat ahead of data expected to show lower jobless insurance claims and same-store sales from U.S. retailers.

The Dow Jones industrial futures gained three points to 13,931, the Nasdaq futures were up 0.2 of a point to 2,737.5 and the S&P 500 futures edged up 0.75 of a point to 1,507.5.

Telecom BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) said quarterly net earnings were up 45.7 per cent from a year earlier to $708 million or 91 cents per share. However, BCE’s adjusted earnings rose at a more moderate 4.8 per cent to 65 cents per share, a penny short of analyst estimates. BCE also raised its dividend by six cents to $2.33 per common share annually.

Earnings and revenue at mining giant Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.B) beat analyst estimates by a wide margin but its net profit fell to $145 million, or 25 cents per share, down from $637 million a year ago. Revenue dropped to $2.73 billion from $2.97 billion but that was still above the $2.58 billion that analysts expected. On an adjusted basis, Teck had $354 million or 61 cents per share of earnings in the latest quarter, 13 cents above a consensus estimate.

Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC) said net profit soared to $1.06 billion in the fourth quarter, more than double analyst expectations. However, Manulife’s core earnings were disappointing at $537 million or 28 cents per share during the quarter, which was four cents below the consensus estimate. All-in revenue, including investment and other items, was just under $7.2 billion, $2.5 billion below analyst estimates.

Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) posted a fourth-quarter profit of $8 million, or three cents per diluted share, reversing a year-earlier net loss of $60 million or 22 cents per diluted share. Operating revenue rose to $2.84 billion from just under $2.7 billion. For the full year, net income was $131 million, or 45 cents per diluted share on revenues of $12.1 billion, compared with a net loss of $249 million or 92 cents per diluted share on revenue of $11.6 billion in the same 2011 period.

Overseas, the European Central Bank says it is keeping its benchmark rate at a record low 0.75 per cent despite pressure from hard-pressed businesses for a cut. Even though the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro is in recession, there have been positive recent signals from forward-looking surveys, which likely played a large factor in the bank’s decision.

North American indexes eked out slight gains on Wednesday with the Toronto market hobbled by lower commodity prices and earnings misses from No. 1 energy company Suncor (TSX:SU) and from Husky Energy (TSX:HSE).

New York indexes were lacklustre with markets appearing to stall following strong gains in January. The Dow jumped six per cent on the month while the TSX was up a respectable two per cent.

Oil and metal prices advanced with the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead 24 cents to US$96.86 a barrel.

March copper rose a penny to US$3.75 a pound while April gold bullion dipped $1.70 to US$1,677.10 an ounce.

European bourses were mixed while corporate news was mostly positive, with shares rising in Credit Suisse, Daimler and Statoil after they announced profit increases. The stock of Alcatel-Lucent rose almost eight per cent on news that the CEO will leave, raising hopes for a change in direction for the troubled telecom.

London's FTSE 100 index lost 0.4 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.29 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.09 per cent.

In Asia, stocks ended the day mostly lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 led the way with a 0.9 per cent drop as investors cashed in their gains after the benchmark rose to its highest since September 2008 in the previous session.

South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.2 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.3 per cent. Asia’s other big loser was the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China, which ended 0.6 per cent lower. China’s smaller Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.5 per cent.

Chinese investors were most likely closing out their positions ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday next week.

Andrew Sullivan, director of Asian sales trading at Kim Eng Securities observed that holidays in China can be an especially uncertain time for investors because authorities in Beijing often use the occasion to announce new policy measures.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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