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At the open: Stocks rise amid flood of earnings, data

Regulators propose trading rules for direct access


Major stock indexes rose at the open, finding support from several U.S. economic reports this morning that were generally as good, if not better, than economists had expected.

In early trading, the S&P 500 was up 11 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 1,423; the Dow Jones industrial average was up 145 points, or 1.0 per cent, at 13,234; and the Nasdaq was up 28 points, or 1.0 per cent, at 3,005.

The S&P/TSX index was up 18 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 12,441, not helped by Barrick Gold Corp., which reported earnings that missed expectations as well as cost overruns at its Pascua-Lama gold project. Its shares were down 7 per cent.

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The day started with some encouraging news overnight from China, where official and private sector factory surveys showed economic growth there is finally regaining some traction. The official October Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 50.2 from 49.8 in September, just below a 50.3 forecast by a Reuters poll last week and the first reading since July that suggested a pickup in activity. The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 49.5 in October from 47.9 in September. That reading was the highest since February.

Here's a rundown of the U.S. economic releases and stocks that are moving on news today:

ADP said private payrolls rose 158,000, more than the 131,000 that was expected, although the calculations used a new methodology.

U.S. initial jobless claims fell 9,000 last week to 363,000. That was better than the 369,000 economists had predicted.

The U.S. Labour Department said non-farm productivity rose 1.9 per cent in the third quarter, a little better than expected. Unit labour costs fell 0.1 per cent; economists were expecting a rise of close to 1 per cent.

The U.S. Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index for October was at 51.7; economists had expected a reading of 51.5.

U.S. conference board said its consumer confidence for October was 72.2, better than the previous month's 70.3, but missing expectations for a reading of 74.0. Still, it was the highest level since February 2008.

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U.S. construction spending for September rose 0.6 per cent, matching expectations.

Suncor Energy Inc. has trimmed its 2012 budget by about 11 per cent after coming in under budget on one of its expansion efforts and slowing spending on major growth projects. Shares are up 2.3 per cent at the open.

Barrick Gold Corp. reported earnings that missed Street estimates and said the cost overrun at its Pascua-Lama gold project will be even greater than expected. Shares are down 7 per cent.

BCE Inc. said it's on track to meet the 2012 financial guidance it issued in August but the telecom and media giant's profit was slightly below analyst estimates in the third quarter. Shares are down 1.2 per cent in early trading.

Cameco Corp. said third-quarter adjusted earnings were just half the year-earlier level on lower uranium sales and prices and higher costs. But the uranium producer reaffirmed its sales, revenue and production guidance for the year.

Cott Corp. said third-quarter earnings fell to 15 cents a share from 17 cents and revenue fell per cent.

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Fortis Inc. said third-quarter earnings fell to 24 cents a share from 30 cents.

Husky Energy Inc. said third-quarter net earnings were unchanged at 53 cents a share, while adjusted earnings fell by a penny to 52 Canadian cents a share, which beat expectations.

Pfizer Inc. reported an adjusted third quarter net income of 43 cents, declining from 48 cents a year ago.

Exxon reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.09, beating analysts estimates of $1.96. It also announced plans to buy back $5-billion (U.S.) in shares in the fourth quarter.

North American automakers release October motor vehicle sales throughout the day. Chrysler said its U.S. sales rose 10 per cent last month, its best October since 2007.

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