Toronto mixed by noon
(Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Telus, Talisman in focus
The Toronto stock market was mixed Friday amid rising oil prices and positive U.S. earnings news.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained positive 5.01 points to greet noon at 12,828.63
The Canadian dollar fell 0.63 cents to 99.14 cents U.S., its lowest level since early August, a day after closing below parity with the American currency for the first time since mid-November.
The loonie has been under pressure since the Bank of Canada indicated Wednesday that interest rates will likely rise further down the road than had been expected because of economic weakness.
Still, with the Bank of Canada, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty expects to choose the country's next central bank governor in April and said on Friday he was looking worldwide for the right candidate, who must hold a Canadian passport. This, after current Governor Mark Carney announced he'd take the helm of the Bank of England this spring.
Shares in business software company Open Text Corp. fell $1.74 to $58.14 after it said Thursday it earned $61.1 million U.S. in the latest quarter, up from $47.4 million a year ago. Revenue in what was the company's second quarter grew to $352.2 million, up from $321.5 million
In the energy sector, Canadian Natural Resources gained 42 cents to $31.09.
The financials sector rose with Manulife Financial ahead 16 cents to $14.95.
The base metals sector edged higher with March copper off a penny at $3.67 U.S. a pound. Thompson Creek Metals advanced five cents to $4.30.
Among gold issues, Kinross Gold Corp. faded 17 cents to $8.83.
In other corporate news, Fortress Paper Ltd. tumbled almost 16% to $9.06 after it said the start up of a co-generation project at its specialty cellulose mill will be delayed and costs will be 10 to 20% higher than previously forecast.
The company also said it expects to soon resolve "minor technical issues" as it continues to ramp-up production of dissolving pulp.
Talisman Energy Inc. said it is out to slash costs by cutting jobs and exiting high-risk exploration areas. Talisman has already announced it is winding down its operations in Peru, where it was not able to establish a big enough resource to make it worth its while.
It is likely to do the same in Poland, which has a nascent shale gas industry. Its shares gained 14 cents to $12.34.
Telus Corp is moving ahead with its plan to eliminate its non-voting publicly listed stock. Each non-voting share will be swapped for a common share on a one-for-one basis, on Feb. 4. The plan had been opposed by New York-based fund manager Mason Capital, which argued voting shares should have been given a higher value than non-voting shares. Telus says the two companies have agreed to abandon all litigation on the matter.
Telus common shares ticked eight cents lower to $65.66.
On the economic slate, the cost of living showed a consistent rise last month. Figures released by Statistics Canada this morning showed the consumer price index hiked 0.8% in December, matching November's increase.
The TSX Venture Exchange ducked under the breakeven point by 5.19 points to 1,224.27
Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups broke for lunch in the green. Health-care improved 0.8%, information technology surged 0.7%, and energy gained 0.4%.
The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by gold, off 1.7%, materials, down 0.7%, and the metals and mining group, sliding 0.5%.
U.S. stocks were higher Friday as investors welcomed a batch of better-than-expected corporate results.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average progressed 52.38 points, to greet noon at 13,877.70
The S&P 500 gained 6.63 points to 1,501.45. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite remained ahead 11.33 to 3,141.71
Procter & Gamble shares rose 3.7%, leading the gains on the Dow. The company, which makes a variety of household goods, topped earnings expectations and raised its outlook for earnings and share repurchases in 2013. Microsoft and AT&T shares also lifted the blue-chip index following their earnings.
Halliburton shares jumped almost 5%, making it among the best performers in the S&P 500. The company reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations, driven by strength in the company's international divisions. A 4% increase in Starbucks shares also boosted the broader market. The company reported earnings late Thursday that were in line with analysts' estimates.
Netflix continued to surge for a second day. Shares gained almost 13% Friday, adding to the previous day's 42% jump. Earlier this week, Netflix shocked Wall Street with a surprise profit for the fourth quarter.
But Apple shares continued to slide, declining 2% Friday. The drop knocked Apple from its position as the world's most valuable company, allowing Exxon Mobil to reclaim the title.
Also, on the downside, shares of Hasbro were under pressure after the company said it expects full year earnings to come in below analysts' expectations, citing the "challenging growth prospects" in the toy industry. Hasbro also announced it was cutting 10% of its workforce. Shares of rival Mattel fell too.
Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 4.45% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P Capital IQ.
Of the 142 companies that had reported results as of Thursday evening, 66% have exceeded analysts' expectations.
On the economic front, new home sales unexpectedly dropped in December, sliding 7.3% to an annual rate of 369,000, according to a report from the Census Bureau.
Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury caved raising yields to 1.92% from Thursday's 1.84%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices faded 24 cents to $95.71 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices fell back $9.50 to $1,660.40 U.S. an ounce.
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