TORONTO — The Toronto stock market drifted slightly lower Thursday morning despite a string of strong earnings reports.The S&P/TSX composite index slipped 7.49 points to 15,194.6, weighed down by mining stocks.The Canadian dollar was off 0.07 of a cent to 91.56 cents US.U.S. indexes were positive as the Dow Jones industrials rose 42.45 points to 16,485.79, the Nasdaq gained 13.32 points to 4,368.37 and the S&P 500 index was ahead 5.13 points to 1,925.37.In the background are ongoing tensions over the crisis in Ukraine and fresh Russian sanctions on the West. Trading has been lacklustre over the last several sessions as traders worry about Russia getting more involved in the Ukraine government’s fight against pro-Russian rebels.Analysts have said there are also concerns that the Federal Reserve could hike U.S. interest rates sooner than thought.But on Thursday, traders focused on earnings, particularly in the insurance sector where Manulife Financial announced it is starting to restore the big dividend cut it made in 2009 in the wake of the financial collapse. At that time, it cut its dividend in half. It is now raising its quarterly dividend 2.5 cents to 15.5 cents per share. Core earnings, which exclude extraordinary items, rose to 36 cents a share from 31 cents, four cents below expectations. Net income more than tripled to $943 million, or 49 cents per share and its shares gained 17 cents to $22.14.After markets closed Wednesday, Sun Life Financial Inc. delivered overall operating net income, excluding certain items and discontinued operations, of $488 million or 80 cents per share, up from $431 million or 71 cents per share in the second quarter of 2013. That beat analyst estimates of 66 cents a share and its shares climbed 36 cents to $41.51.Elsewhere, Air Canada says quarterly net income grew to $223 million, or 75 cents per share, compared to a loss of $23 million, or nine cents per share, a year ago. Operating revenues grew to $3.3 billion from $3.06 billion in the comparable period as the airline said that its lower-cost Rouge carrier operations have exceeded expectations. Its shares fell 36 cents or 3.9% to $8.90.Canadian Tire Corp. posted second-quarter net income of $178.9 million, or $2.12 per share, compared to $154.9 million or $1.91 a year earlier and above the consensus estimate of $2.02. Despite a late start to spring, revenue increased to $3.17 billion from $3.02 billion helped by sales at its Sport Chek stores and Canadian Tire gained $2.77 to $107.30.BCE Inc. profits grew 6.1% in the second quarter to $606 million, or 78 cents per share as the company benefited from new revenue sources tied to its acquisition of Astral Media. Adjusted earnings grew to 82 cents per share from 77 cents, a cent short of estimates. Operating revenues increased 4.4% to $5.22 billion and its shares dipped 12 cents to $48.76.Overseas, the European Central Bank said that it is leaving benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.15%. Later, at a news conference, ECB President Mario Draghi cautioned that the crisis in Ukraine could weigh on the fragile economic recovery in the eurozone. He said the fallout from Ukraine was “hard to assess” but that sanctions and countersanctions could increase the impact.The gold sector was a weight on the TSX, down 0.8% while December bullion faded $2.90 to US$1,305.30 an ounce.The energy sector was off 0.25% as the September crude contract in New York was ahead 19 cents higher to US$97.11 a barrel.The base metals component was little changed as September copper gained a cent to US$3.17.

Published by admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *