U.S. stocks rose modestly on Thursday, after investors weighed an upbeat report on U.S. jobless claims against no signs of progress in budget negotiations in Washington. However, a rally by Loblaw Cos. Ltd. wasn’t enough to lift Canada’s benchmark index.
The S&P 500 closed at 1413.94, up 4.66 points or 0.3 per cent. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13074.04, up 39.55 points or 0.3 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,151.13, down 6.16 points or less than 0.1 per cent.
U.S. initial jobless claims fell to 370,000 for the period ended last week, down from 395,000 in the previous week and better than expectations, suggesting that the hurricane-related setback to employment is now subsiding.
The European Central Bank left its key interest rate unchanged, at 0.75 per cent, but cut the region’s growth and inflation forecasts. The ECB believes the euro zone will not escape its economic slump until the second half of 2013, raising the prospect of rate cuts ahead.
Loblaw surged 13.7 per cent after the grocer announced plans to spin off its real estate holdings into a separate publicly traded real estate investment trust next year.
Primaris Retail REIT rose less than 0.1 per cent after its chief executive said that the $4.4-billion bid from a consortium led by KingSett Capital was insufficient.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. rose 7.1 per cent after reporting a 37 per cent increase in sales in the most recent quarter and announcing plans to open its first store in Hong Kong as it ramps up its international expansion plans.
Canadian bank stocks were generally weak. Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 1.8 per cent after it reported a 0.5 per cent increase in its earnings over last year. TD also said it would pay $668-million to buy U.S. asset manage Epoch Holding Corp. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce fell 0.5 per cent after reporting a 13 per cent gain in its fourth quarter earnings but a 1.1 per cent decline in revenues.
Among commodities, crude oil fell to $86.26 a barrel, down $1.62. Gold rose to $1,701.80 an ounce, up $8. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.6 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. was unchanged.
Apple Inc. halted its slump, rising 1.6 per cent after a 6.4 per cent dip on Wednesday. The company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, hinted in a television interview that Apple was preparing to launch its own television, which is seen by some investors as the company’s next breakthrough technology.