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TSX Poised For Positive Open On Earnings Optimism - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks may edge up at open Thursday amid faltering commodities and a mixed bag of earnings reports from major Canadian companies. Meanwhile, economic data from south of the border came in encouraging, with new claims for unemployment in the U.S. falling by a larger number than predicted in the final full week of April.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a marginally higher open.

On Wednesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index snapped its 5-session winning streak to shed 102.66 points or 0.83 percent to 12,230.12.

The price of crude oil was lingering around $105, with crude for June delivery slipping $0.14 to $105.08 a barrel.

The price of gold was extending losses, with gold for June delivery shedding $9.90 to $1,644.10 an ounce.

In corporate news from Canada, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) reported first quarter comparative earnings of $119.0 million or $0.25 per share, significantly lower than $206.7 million or $0.48 per share a year ago.

Financial services provider Accord Financial Corp. (ACD.TO) reported a lower first quarter net profit of C$883,000 or C$0.10 per share, compared to C$1.60 million or C$0.18 per share last year.

Insurance services provider Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) reported that its first quarter net income advanced 22 percent to C$1.21 billion from C$985 million a year ago., with quarterly earnings per share rising to C$0.62 from last year's C$0.53. The company announced a quarterly shareholders' dividend of C$0.13 per share

Oil transportation company Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) confirmed $262 million Enbridge Gas New Brunswick write down as a result of legislation passed by the Government of New Brunswick in December 2011.

Jean Coutu Group. (PJC_A.TO) posted fourth quarter profit of C$62.0 million or C$0.28 per share versus C$46.5 million or C$0.20 a share last year.

Apparels maker Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO) posted second quarter net earnings of $26.9 million or $0.22 per share, lower than $61.7 million or $0.50 per share a year ago. Adjusted net earnings were $0.23 per share, compared to $0.53 per share in the second quarter of last year. Analyst expected the company to report earnings of $0.21 per share. Separately, the company said it would acquire 100 percent of the common shares of Anvil Holdings, Inc. for a total purchase price of approximately $88 million

Communication equipment maker JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDU.TO) reported that its third-quarter GAAP net loss was $17.4 million, or $0.08 per share, compared to net income of $38.6 million, or $0.16 per share for the third fiscal quarter of 2011. On a non-GAAP basis, net income was $25.3 million or $0.11 per share, down from $51.0 million, or $0.22 per share. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $0.11 per share for the quarter.

Telecommunications services provider BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) reported higher first quarter net earnings of C$574 million or C$0.74 per share, compared to C$503 million or C$0.67 per share last year. Adjusted earnings per share were C$0.75 versus C$0.72 in the prior-year quarter. Analyst were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.72 per share.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX.TO) announced that it would acquire certain assets from University Medical Pharmaceuticals Corp., a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on skincare products, for around $64 million plus potential milestones based on attainment of future revenue targets.

In economic news from south of the border, the U.S. Labor Department said new claims for unemployment in the U.S. fell by a larger number than predicted in the final full week of April. Initial unemployment claims came in at a seasonally adjusted level of 365,000, a drop of 27,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 392,000. And while the previous week's level of new claims was revised up from the 388,000 initially reported, the drop for the week of April 28 was larger than predicted by most economists who had expected to see new claims come in at 378,000.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank maintained its key rates at 1 percent, as widely expected.

Meanwhile, a report from the Eurostat revealed that euro zone's producer prices increased less than forecast by economists in March. The producer price index rose 0.5 percent month-on-month in March, slower than 0.6 percent gain in February. Economists had forecast an increase of 0.6 percent. Prices has now increased for three consecutive months.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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