TSX advances amid improving earnings

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The Toronto stock market advanced Thursday after four losing sessions amid higher commodities, positive earnings news and data showing Britain’s economy is growing again.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 103.84 points at 12,298.86 as “a lot of the numbers that came out of Canada were reasonably in-line and positive and that’s certainly helping things,” said Colin Cieszynski, market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. “So far, so good for Canada.”The TSX Venture Exchange gained 14.4 points to 1,303.15.The Canadian dollar was well off early highs, edging up 0.08 of a cent to 100.59 cents US as markets also got a boost from data that showed Britain’s economy emerged from recession in the July-to-September quarter after a nine-month downturn.U.S. indexes were also higher with the Dow Jones industrials ahead 36.45 points to 13,113.79, the Nasdaq advancing 10.65 points to 2,992.35 and the S&P 500 index up 5.18 points to 1,413.93.Markets have lost ground over the last few days as results from big American multinationals such as McDonald’s, DuPont chemical and conglomerates General Electric and 3M Inc. disappointed and reminded investors about how fragile economic conditions are overseas, particularly in Europe.Analysts also see traders getting more cautious ahead of the U.S. election on Nov. 6 which is seen as too close to call.Traders were relieved Thursday to see strong reports from German industrial conglomerate BASF, consumer products company Unilever and Swiss bank Credit Suisse.And U.S. multinational consumer products giant Procter & Gamble said quarterly net income fell seven per cent to $2.81 billion, or 96 cents per share, down from $3.02 billion, or $1.03 per share, last year. Adjusted results of $1.06 a share beat expectations by a dime, however, and the world’s largest consumer products maker reiterated its annual guidance, sending its shares up 3.8 per cent to US$70.68.In Canada, Potash Corp. says its third-quarter profit fell 22 per cent from a year ago to US$645 million or 74 cents per share. Revenue was $2.14 billion, down from $2.32 billion in the third quarter of 2011. The revenue was in line with analyst estimates but profit was below expectations by two to three cents per share, depending on adjustments. Its shares dipped four cents to $40.25.Elsewhere in the resource sector, oil and gas producer Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY) said its net income fell to $59 million, or 11 cents per share in the third quarter from $200 million, or 38 cents per share a year ago due to lower cash flow and the impact of several non-recurring items. Nexen also said it expected the $15.1-billion deal that would see it acquired by China National Offshore Oil Co. to be completed by the end of this year. Its shares climbed 22 cents to $23.85.Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) says its net income fell by 43 per cent from a year ago to $289 million or 38 cents per share before adjustments, missing analyst estimates by a wide margin. But Cenovus’s cash flow, a more closely watched metric in the energy sector, rose by 41 per cent to $1.12 billion or $1.47 per share, 25 cents better than estimates. Its shares lost early momentum and declined four cents to $33.95.Precision Drilling Corp. (TSX:PD) shares dipped five cents to $7.47 as it saw its third-quarter profit drop 53 per cent to $39 million or 14 cents a share in the last quarter, which was five cents short of expectations. Revenue slipped 1.7 per cent to $484.8 million against expectations of $497.9 million.The TSX energy sector was up 0.65 per cent as oil prices strengthened after five days of losses, including a drop of almost $1 on Wednesday in the wake of data showing a much larger increase in crude inventories last week than had been expected. The December contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange added one cent to US$85.74 a barrel.The gold sector rose 2.85 per cent as December bullion gained $14.90 to US$1,716.50 an ounce and Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) handed in a strong earnings report. Goldcorp posted a third-quarter profit of US$498 million or 61 cents a share, helped by improvements at its Red Lake and Penasquito mines. Adjusted for one-time items, Goldcorp’s earnings were 54 cents per share, six cents better than estimates and its shares rose $2.27 to $43.06.Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. (TSX:AEM) bounded ahead $3.46 to $54.84 as it increased its production guidance for the year and it reported a better than expected third-quarter profit of US$106.3 million.The metals and mining sector was flat as copper gave up an early modest gain and moved down a penny to US$3.56 a pound. Copper closed unchanged Wednesday but prices for the metal, which is viewed as an economic barometer, saw a slide of 18 cents in the previous four sessions. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) climbed 37 cents to $31.76.Elsewhere on the earnings front, Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR.B) gained 45 cents to $20.94 as it reported quarterly net income from continuing operations of $133 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, for down from $167 million or 37 cents per share in the same period last year. Revenue, however, was up 2.5 per cent to $1.21 billion for the quarter compared to $1.81 billion year over year.European bourses were mixed as London’s FTSE 100 index gained 0.1 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.41 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was off 0.18 per cent.

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