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Trader Michael Capolino, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, May 19, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)
Trader Michael Capolino, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, May 19, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)

At the open: Markets sink on mixed earnings, interest rate concerns Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was lower amid another mixed bag of earnings news and concerns about when the U.S. Federal Reserve may hike interest rates.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 66.3 points to 15,458.52.

There was also major acquisition news on Thursday as Shaw Communications is buying Colorado-based data centre ViaWest, Inc., a provider of cloud and managed services in North America, for $1.2-billion (U.S.).

Why we won't leave our offices ( Globe and Mail Update )

The loonie was down 0.11 of a cent to 91.62 cents (U.S.) as economic growth in May came in better than forecast. Statistics Canada said gross domestic product grew by 0.4 per cent, better than the 0.3 per cent gain that economists had expected.

U.S. indexes were sharply lower as the Dow Jones industrials tumbled 137.37 points to 16,742.99, the Nasdaq lost 37.8 points to 4,425.1 and the S&P 500 index declined 15.95 points to 1,954.12.

The U.S. Federal Reserve wrapped up its interest rate meeting Wednesday and indicated that it will keep short-term interest rates low “for a considerable time” after it ends its bond purchases, likely in October. Markets have generally expected the Fed to start hiking rates mid-2015, but much stronger than expected economic growth in the second quarter has investors concerned that the Fed could act sooner to raise rates.

Bombardier Inc. reported quarterly net income of$155-million (U.S.), or eight cents per share, compared with $180-million, or 10 cents per share, for the same quarter in 2013. Excluding items, adjusted net income amounted to $192-million, or 10 cents – a cent ahead of estimates and its shares inched up two cents to $3.69.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which is making a hostile takeover bid for Botox maker Allergan, posted a quarterly net profit of $126-million (Canadian) or 37 cents a share. Revenues jumped 86 per cent to $2.04-billion. Adjusted income was $651-million, or $1.91 per share, missing estimates of $1.98 a share and its shares fell $6.10 to $131.32.

After the market close Wednesday, Barrick Gold Corp. delivered a $269-million quarterly net loss and $159-million of adjusted earnings in the second quarter, missing analyst estimates on both counts. The adjusted profit amounted to 14 cents (U.S.) per share, down from 66 cents a year earlier and two cents a share below analyst estimates. It also said the average cost of producing an ounce of gold in 2014 will be lower than previously estimated. Barrick shares dipped 18 cents to $19.96.

Suncor Energy Inc. posted net income of $211-million (Canadian), or 14 cents per share, compared to $680-million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier. Operating earnings, which strip out the effects of unusual items, came in at $1.14-billion or 77 cents a share, 20 cents below estimates and its shares were down 48 cents to $45.31.

The TSX energy sector was down one per cent as September oil moved 82 cents lower to $99.45 (U.S.) a barrel.

The metals and mining sector fell 1.63 per cent as September copper edged a penny higher to $3.25 a pound.

The gold sector fell 0.8 per cent while December gold faded $8.40 to $1,288.50 an ounce.

The tech sector was a strong advancer, up 3.5 per cent with corporate software company Open Text up 15.25 per cent to $61.06 (Canadian) as it reported Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit doubled compared with a year ago, as revenue improved by more than 40 per cent.


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