The Toronto stock market opened higher Friday amid stronger than expected financial results from smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. and expectations that China will move to counter its economic slowdown.
The S&P/TSX composite index moved ahead 64.68 points to 14,243.52. The Canadian dollar fell 0.09 of a cent to 90.56.
BlackBerry reported a loss of US$423 million or 80 cents per share for its latest quarter compared with a profit of $98 million or 19 cents per diluted share a year ago.
However, excluding several one-time items, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) said it had an adjusted loss from continuing operations of $42 million or eight cents per share for the quarter.
Analysts on average had expected a loss of 55 cents per share, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters. Shares in the Waterloo, Ont., company rose more than six per cent, or 62 cents, to $10.58 in early trading.
All sectors on the Toronto Stock Exchange were in the green, with tech and metals and mining stocks emerging as the leading advancers.
Wall Street was positive as the Dow Jones industrials gained 108.28 points to 16,372.57, the Nasdaq rose 31.24 points to 4,182.47 and the S&P 500 index jumped 11.98 points to 1,861.02.
Investors were digesting the latest figures from the U.S. that showed the economy there is progressing at a moderate pace.
The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.3 per cent in February following a 0.2 per cent rise in January, helped by a surge in spending on utility bills.
In February, spending on durable goods such as autos actually dropped as consumers stayed away from auto dealerships.
This data followed other figures this week that showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 per cent annual rate from October to December, slightly more than previously estimated. Meanwhile, jobless claims fell 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, the lowest since late November and a hopeful sign that hiring could pick up.
But this strength did not look like it translated to home purchases. It was reported that the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell for the eighth straight month in February, indicating that home sales could slow over the next few months.
Overseas, expectations rose on that more stimulus will be pumped into China, as that country saw its growth slowed to its weakest level since the financial crisis.
China has set a target of 7.5 per cent economic growth this year but is more concerned about ensuring sufficient new jobs are created than precisely meeting the GDP figure.
In commodities, oil gained 82 cents to $102.08, while gold prices lost ground with the June contract faded $6.50 to US$1,288.30 an ounce. May copper rose 5 cents to US$3.04 a pound.
European markets were higher with Britain’s FTSE 100 adding 0.4 per cent to 6,611.36. Germany’s DAX index jumped 0.7 per cent to 9,512.57, while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.3 per cent to 4,393.37.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 per cent to close at 14,696.03. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 per cent to 1,981.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.1 per cent to 22,065.53. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 per cent to 2,041.71 as major banks reported profits in line with analysts’ forecasts.