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TMCNet:  Toronto up as Alcoa beats street

[April 09, 2014]

Toronto up as Alcoa beats street

(Baystreet Stock Market Update (Canada) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dollarama, Constellation in focus The Toronto stock market was higher Wednesday as U.S. resource giant Alcoa Inc. advanced following its first-quarter results and traders looked ahead to the release of minutes from the latest interest rate meeting at the U.S. Federal Reserve.


The S&P/TSX composite index greeted noon up 23.50 points at 14,395.95 The Canadian dollar resumed its march upward, taking on 0.18 cents at 91.72 cents U.S.

On the earnings front, Montreal-based discount chain Dollarama is hiking its quarterly dividend to 16 cents from 14 cents. The retailer also posted a quarterly net profit of $83 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.17.

That compares with $77.1 million in the same quarter last year on diluted EPS of $1.04. Sales for the quarter were $582.2 million compared with $561.8 million year-over-year. Its shares ran ahead $6.78, or 7.9%, to $92.56.

Tech stocks advanced with Constellation Software ahead $7.09, or 2.7%, to $272.30.

The energy sector gained as Suncor fell two cents to $39.83 The gold sector was a drag as Barrick Gold slipped 30 cents to $20.24 The base metals component slipped while May copper was down four cents to $3.01 U.S. a pound. Teck Resources faded 42 cents to $25.21 ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange inched higher 0.49 points to 999.28 All but four of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher midday Wednesday, with information technology issues spiking 1.5%, consumer discretionary stocks up 1%, and utilities advancing 0.7%.

The four laggards were weighed mostly by gold, down 1.3%, consumer staples, slipping 0.8%, and materials, sagging 0.6%.

ON WALLSTREET Investors were feeling cautiously optimistic Wednesday as first-quarter earnings season kicked off.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 56.80 points to 16,312.94. The S&P 500 moved ahead 6.12 points to 1,858.08, while the NASDAQ strengthened 29.79 points to 4,142.78 Auto stocks were under pressure today after Toyota announced a massive global recall. General Motors, grappling with the continuing fallout of its botched ignition switch recall, fell in morning trading.

In other corporate news, Comcast and Time Warner Cable representatives will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to plead their case for merging the companies. Shares of both companies were higher.

Earnings will most likely be the main catalyst for the markets in the weeks ahead. The first quarter was hampered by severe winter weather, which may have had an impact companies' bottom lines.

The earnings season unofficially commenced yesterday afternoon when Alcoa reported earnings that topped expectations.

Shares of the aluminum producer bounced Wednesday. The next big reports will be from some of the big U.S. banks on Friday.

Shares of Constellation Brands were up after the alcoholic beverages company posted quarterly profits that beat estimates, thanks to a bump in its beer shipments business.

Shares of medical robotics company Intuitive Surgical plunged after the company said it expects first quarter revenue to come in 24% lower than the same quarter last year. The dreary forecasts come just weeks after the stock soared following Food and Drug Administration approval for a new surgical robot device.

In IPO news, La Quinta hotel chain began trading today under the symbol LQ. Shares dropped intially, but are now modestly higher. That's in sharp contrast to a Chinese healthcare firm, iKang, which spiked over 20% in its debut.

Also today, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release minutes from its March meeting at 2 p.m. ET.

At the press conference following that meeting last month, Fed Chief Janet Yellen briefly spooked investors when she stated that the U.S. central bank's stimulus program would most likely be finished by the fall and that a rate hike could come as soon as early 2015.

Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries sagged, raising yields to 2.71% from Tuesday's 2.68%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 32 cents to $102.88 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices backtracked $3.40 to $1,305.70 U.S. an ounce.

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