The Toronto stock market was little changed Thursday as investors play it cautious heading into the long Easter weekend and consolidate profits at the end of a positive week.
The S&P/TSX composite index shed 10.76 points to 14,435.76.
The Canadian dollar was higher amid data showing inflation coming in slightly higher than expected. The loonie was up 0.13 of a cent to 90.89 cents (U.S.) as Statistics Canada reported that the consumer price index rose 0.6 per cent in March from the previous month, higher than the 0.4 per cent reading that economists had expected. The rise was mostly due to a three per cent increase in gasoline from February.
U.S. indexes were mainly lower amid a string of earnings from corporate heavyweights including Goldman Sachs, Pepsico and General Electric.
The Dow Jones industrials were 18.05 points lower to 16,406.8, the Nasdaq rose 0.66 of a point to 4,086.89 and the S&P 500 index slipped 0.48 of a points to 1,861.83.
On Thursday, General Electric posted lower first-quarter net income than a year ago because last year’s results included the sale of NBC Universal. GE earned $3-billion (U.S.) on revenue of $34.18-billion, down from $3.5-billion on revenue of $34.94-billion during the same period last year. Ex-items, GE earned 33 cents per share, down 15 per cent from a year ago but a penny better than what analysts expected and its shares were up 1.76 per cent .
PepsiCo earned $1.22-billion, or 79 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 83 cents per share, above the 75 cents per share Wall Street expected. A year ago, it earned $1.08-billion, or 69 cents per share. Revenue edged up to $12.62-billion, higher than the $12.39-billion analysts expected and its shares ran up 0.4 per cent.
And Goldman Sachs posted quarterly earnings of $4.02 a share, beating analyst expectations of $3.45 and its shares were up 1.2 per cent.
But Google stock dropped 2.75 per cent as quarterly earnings growth faltered amid a persistent downturn in advertising prices while IBM’s first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street’s expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, pushing its shares down four per cent.
Stocks registered sharp advances on Wednesday as Chinese economic growth in the first quarter came in better than expected. Buying sentiment was also lifted by strong U.S. industrial production data while the Federal Reserve`s latest regional survey showed that the economy picked up over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided.
The gold sector led advancers, up 0.4 per cent while June bullion declined $1.30 to $1,302.20 an ounce.
May copper was unchanged at $3.03 a pound and the base metals component climbed 0.16 per cent.
The energy sector was flat as the May crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was 25 cents higher to $104.01 a barrel.
Losses were led by the consumer staples sector, down 0.5 per cent.
In other corporate developments, Augusta Resource Corporation says that proxy advisory firm Glass, Lewis & Co. is recommending that shareholders vote for the continuation of its shareholder rights plan. Augusta is the target of a hostile takeover by HudBay Minerals Inc. Augusta says its shareholders will be able to vote on the shareholders rights plan on May 2, three days before the expiry of HudBay’s bid. Augusta shares dipped five cents to $3.24 (Canadian).