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The Potash Corp logo at the entrance of the company's office tower in downtown Saskatoon on Nov. 3rd, 2010. (Liam Richards/The Globe and Mail)
The Potash Corp logo at the entrance of the company's office tower in downtown Saskatoon on Nov. 3rd, 2010. (Liam Richards/The Globe and Mail)

At the open: TSX rises amid run of positive earnings news Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was slightly higher Thursday amid another heavy slate of earnings news in Canada and the U.S.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 10.7 points to 14,544.09.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.07 of a cent to 90.72 cents (U.S.).

U.S. indexes were mixed, with the Dow Jones industrials down 3.78 points to 16,497.87 despite well-received earnings reports from General Motors and Caterpillar.

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The Nasdaq jumped 20.39 points to 4,147.36 as Facebook and Apple blew past expectations while the S&P 500 index gained 2.92 points to 1,878.31.

In Canada, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. posted quarterly net income of $340-million (U.S.) or 40 cents a share, compared to 63 cents per share, or $556-million, in the same period last year. The company’s guidance was for between 30 and 35 cents per share and its shares gained 41 cents to $38.76.

Domtar Corp. had quarterly net income of $39-million or $1.20 a share. Ex-items, Domtar’s adjusted profit was $1.29 per share for the quarter. Analysts had estimated $1.76 per share of adjusted earnings and $1.46 per share of net income for the quarter. Sales totalled $1.394-billion, up from $1.345-billion a year earlier. Its shares were off 44 cents to $106.75.

General Motors says first-quarter profit fell 86 per cent to $125-million or six cents a share as a series of recalls dragged down its earnings. It was GM’s worst quarterly performance since it posted a net loss after leaving bankruptcy protection in 2009. Excluding one-time items, GM made 29 cents per share, far above analyst estimates of three cents per share and GM shares were up 61 cents to $35.

Caterpillar’s first-quarter earnings climbed five per cent to $922-million, or $1.44 per share. Earnings totalled $1.61 per share, excluding restructuring costs. Total revenue was nearly flat at $13.24-billion. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.21 per share on $13.09-billion in revenue. Caterpillar shares are up $2.78 to $106.16.

After the close Wednesday, Facebook posted earnings ex-items of 34 cents a share versus the 24 cents that analysts expected. Revenue of $2.5-billion beat estimates of $2.36. The stock climbed $1.15 to $62.51.

Shares in Apple Inc. jumped $39.25 or 7.48 per cent to $564 after the company announced Wednesday that it was increasing its dividend by eight per cent to $3.29 per share and that it will buy back an additional $30-billion of its stock. Quarterly earnings rose seven per cent to $10.2-billion, or $11.62 per share, while revenue climbed by five per cent to $45.6-billion. The company also will execute a seven-for-one stock split in early June.

Commodity prices were mixed as May copper ran up five cents to $3.11 a pound and the base metals sector edged up 0.15 per cent.

Escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine pushed June crude in New York up 63 cents to $102.07 a barrel. The energy sector rose 0.1 per cent.

The gold sector was the leading decliner, down 1.2 per cent as June bullion moved down $9.90 to $1,274.70 an ounce.

The Globe and Mail reported that Barrick Gold Corp. has formally asked Newmont Mining Corp. to resume merger talks after their negotiations hit an impasse late last week. Other sources have said the North American-based gold miners had come close to agreeing on an all-stock deal, but their discussions broke down over which assets to spin out from the combined company.

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