The Toronto stock market was higher Thursday, supported in part by a well-received earnings report from telecom giant BCE Inc. and positive U.S. jobs data.
The S&P/TSX composite index ran ahead 103.14 points to 13,662.83 as BCE posted quarterly adjusted net earnings of $540-million or 70 cents a share, beating estimates by a penny. BCE also upped its dividend six per cent to $2.47 a year and its shares gained 64 cents or 1.4 per cent to $46.01.
The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.19 of a cent to 90.42 cents (U.S.).
U.S. indexes were also positive as jobless insurance claims, viewed as a proxy for layoffs, fell by a greater than expected 20,000 to 331,000 for last week.
The data came out a day before the release of the U.S. government’s employment report for January. Economists expect that 183,000 jobs were created following a meagre 74,000 gain in December that was largely blamed on the weather.
The Dow Jones industrials jumped 148.09 points to 15,588.32, the Nasdaq gained 49.31 points to 4,060.86 and the S&P 500 index added 17.37 points to 1,769.01.
Some analysts expressed surprise at the strong runup.
“Because if (the jobs data are) soft, I think we could see this market could continue to correct,” said Stephen Lingard, managing director, Franklin Templeton Multi-Asset Strategies.
It has been volatile on markets over the last few weeks amid worries about emerging markets that are trying to deal with a series of cuts in stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve and some disappointing data that raised concerns about whether economic problems cropping up in those markets can be contained. For example, Dow industrials have tumbled abgout 6.2 per cent year to date.
“Or maybe we don’t see as much of a reaction tomorrow because maybe today’s move is basically pre-buying up before tomorrow,” added Lingard.
Twitter stock plunged 21.6 per cent to $51.70 (U.S.) as it beat earnings and revenue expectations in its first quarter as a public company. But the company added just nine-million new monthly users, a slowdown from the previous three quarters.
GM shares fell 0.8 per cent to $34.96 as earnings ex-items came in at 67 cents a share, far below the 88 cents expected. Revenue of $40.5-billion (U.S.) missed forecasts of $41.075-billion.
Elsewhere in Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart posted adjusted earnings of $172-million or 86 cents a share, which met expectations, and its shares climbed 24 cents to C$58.28 (Canadian).
In other corporate news, Bombardier shares gained seven cents to $4.20 after the British government said that it intends to award a $1.6-billion (U.S.) contract to the Canadian transport giant to supply trains and a depot for London’s transportation system.
Base metals stocks led advancers, up 1.65 per cent with March copper up five cents to $3.23 (U.S.) a pound.
The energy sector climbed 1.35 per cent while March crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved 86 cents higher to $98.24 (U.S.) a barrel.
Financials also gave the TSX a boost, ahead 0.8 per cent.
The gold sector led decliners, down 0.76 per cent as April bullion faded $2.10 to $1,254.80 (U.S.) an ounce.