The Toronto stock market was lower Thursday amid major announcements from the oilpatch, earnings disappointments and uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s next move.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 35.79 points to 13,419.54.
Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) was a major drag, down 33 cents or 6.25 per cent as the transport giant missed on earnings and revenue. It posted adjusted net income of $165 million or nine cents per share, which was one cent below estimates. Third-quarter revenue totalled $4.1 billion, down slightly from $4.2 billion in the same period last fiscal year and also below analyst estimates.
The Canadian dollar rose as growth for August came in higher than economists had forecast. The loonie was up 0.35 of a cent to 95.73 cents US after Statistics Canada reported that gross domestic product grew by 0.3 per cent in August against the 0.2 per cent rise that was expected.
Suncor Energy Inc. announced Wednesday after the close that the Fort Hills oilsands project will go ahead with cost estimated at $13.5 billion. The cost will be shared between Canada’s largest energy company and partners Total E&P and Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.B).
Suncor also said it recorded net earnings of $1.69 billion, or $1.13 per common share, for the third quarter, compared with $1.54 billion, or $1.01 per common share a year ago. Suncor stock added two cents to $38.01 while Teck fell 44 cents to $95.98.
Also Wednesday, Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) announced plans to build a $1.6-billion pipeline to bring crude from Fort Hills and other Suncor oilsands projects to its hub in Hardisty, Alta.
Enbridge is also moving ahead with plans to build a $1.4-billion pipeline to bring diluent — a lighter petroleum product used to thin-out bitumen so that it can flow through pipelines — from Edmonton to the oilsands region. Enbridge drifted two cents higher to $18.96.
U.S. indexes were lower after Wednesday’s announcement from the Fed left traders no wiser about when the central bank might start tapering its US$85 billion monthly bond purchasing scheme.
The Dow Jones industrials declined 35.97 points to 15,582.79, the Nasdaq was down 13.9 points to 3,916.72 while the S&P 500 index shed 3.66 points to 1,759.65.
The Fed said it would maintain the program for now but hinted that tapering could occur earlier than many investors thought. There had been hopes that the Fed wouldn’t move until at least March, well after Janet Yellen has taken over the reins at the central bank.
Any hint of withdrawing the asset purchases has had a negative effect on markets because the quantitative easing program has kept long-term rates low, leaving investors to pour more money into stocks which in turn has fired a strong rally on many equity markets.
The gold sector was the biggest sector decliner, down 3.2 per cent while December bullion fell $22.20 to US$1,327.10 an ounce. Goldcorp (TSX:G) fell 90 cents to $26.73.
Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) says it will cut its already reduced capital spending budget by a further US$1 billion next year as a result of suspending construction at its troubled Pascua-Lama project which straddles the Argentina-Chile border. At the same time, the miner handed in adjusted earnings of 58 cents per share, down from last year but seven cents better than estimates.
Techs were also a drag as business software company Open Text Corp. (TSX:OTC) fell $3.05 to $76.20 even as the company more than doubled its quarterly profits to $30.6 million, or 52 cents per share. Its shares faded 15 cents to $20.75.
But chief executive Mark Barrenechea noted that the company faced slower growth because of uncertainty caused by political strife in the United States earlier this month that saw a partial government shutdown and a last minute deal to avoid a potential default.
The base metals sector was down 0.45 per cent as December copper lost two cents to US$3.30 a pound.
Financials led advancers, up 0.5 per cent with TD Bank (TSX:TD) ahead 76 cents to $96.30.
The energy sector was up 0.24 per cent with December crude down 31 cents to US$96.46 following a tumble of almost $1.50 Wednesday in the wake of data showing a much bigger than expected rise in U.S. inventories last week.
Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) missed expectations for earnings and revenue. Imperial had $647 million of net income, or 76 cents per share, down from $1.04 billion or $1.22 a year earlier and below the estimate of 98 cents per share.
Imperial’s revenue for the quarter was $8.6 billion, up from $8.3 billion a year earlier, but less than the estimate of $9.5 billion and its shares dropped 39 cents to $45.55.
In the U.S., Facebook shares were down 40 cents or 0.8 per cent to US$48.61 even as the social networking site blew past expectations. Earnings per share ex-items were 25 cents a share, six cents better than forecast while quarterly revenue surged 60 per cent from a year ago to $2.02 billion against estimates of $1.911 billion. Its stock had originally surged about 18 per cent in after hours trading Wednesday but later fell back to earth after Facebook finance chief David Ebersman said in a conference call that the company did see a decrease in daily use among younger teenagers.