The Toronto stock market was little changed Thursday as smartphone maker BlackBerry reported a surprising $23-million profit in its most recent quarter.
The S&P/TSX composite index lost 12.06 points to 15,097.19, after setting a new record close on Wednesday. The last record was set exactly six years to the day in June 2008, just before the Great Recession sent stock markets tumbling. The Canadian dollar gained 0.20 of a cent to 92.37 cents (U.S.).
Shares in BlackBerry jumped more than 10 per cent, or 91 cents to $9.93 after its latest quarterly results, which beat analyst expectations, showed that efforts the company made to revamp its smartphone business are making headway.
The Waterloo, Ont.-based tech firm says the $23-million profit it earned was equal to four cents per share, compared with a loss of $84-million or 16 cents in the same period a year ago. On an adjusted basis, BlackBerry reported a loss of 11 cents per share – beating analyst estimates of a loss of 26 cents. Revenue tumbled to $966-million compared with $3.07-billion a year ago.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company plans on launching a new keyboard smartphone called the BlackBerry Passport in September and is also dedicating more resources to serving business and public sector customers after a failed attempt to compete with Apple’s iPhone in the consumer market.
Meanwhile, U.S. indexes were lower, as traders digested news that the Federal Reserve isn’t too worried about rising inflation, giving no hints about when it might start raising interest rates. The Fed also announced that it’ll continue to reduce its monthly bond buyback program by $10-billion (U.S.) to $35-billion a month starting in July, as signs of a recovering U.S. economy continue to emerge.
The Dow Jones industrials fell 37.63 points to 16,868.99, the Nasdaq dipped 10.17 points at 4,352.67 and the S&P 500 futures took back 1.75 points to 1,955.23.
There is yet another sign that the U.S. economy is gaining strength after a harsh winter caused activity to go into reverse. The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.5 per cent last month, the fourth month of increases for the gauge, which predicts the economy’s future health.
The overall economy actually shrank at an annual rate of 1 per cent in the January-March quarter, but analysts believe growth rebounded strongly in the April-June quarter to possibly as much as a 4 per cent growth rate. They are forecasting a solid performance in the second half of around 3 per cent growth. The expectation is that rising employment will fuel further gains in consumer spending.
Meanwhile, the commodity markets were mixed as the geopolitical instability in Iraq continued.
The TSX energy sector was negative, down by 0.32 per cent, as the July crude contract added 33 cents to $106.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Traders bought more gold, sending the price of August bullion up $25.50 to $1,298.20 an ounce. The sector was the leading advancer on the Toronto market, rising by 3.01 per cent. July copper was unchanged at $3.06 a pound.
In Iraq, troops and Islamic militants battled for control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery, which by late Wednesday remained in government hands. All of the facility’s output is used domestically so crude production and exports aren’t affected but the violence underscores how the fighting may threaten the energy infrastructure that Iraq is rebuilding to meet global demand.