TSX falls on mixed economic data, earnings, RIM continues to slide
Toronto's main market moved lower Thursday, amid a mixed batch of North American economic data, a slew of earnings and as a tumbling Research In Motion (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) dragged down the tech sector.
RIM, which has changed its name to Blackberry, was down over 7% a day after it released its new BB10 smartphones and operating system.
The long-awaited release of the new products did little to impress investors and the decline is being attributed to profit-taking, availability to U.S. customers and as at least two analysts have downgraded the stock since Wednesday. Credit Suisse downgraded RIM to “underperform” from “neutral" and Evercore Partners to “equal weight” from “underweight.”
Traders were also soured by the latest statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve, after it said Wednesday that economic growth had stalled, and by weak German retail sales data.
Back in Toronto, as of about 1 p.m. EDT, the S&P/TSX Composite was lower by 84.28 points, or 0.66%, to 12,710.16, while the more junior S&P/TSX Venture Composite fell 3.76 points, or 0.31% to 1,218.59.
Gold futures for April delivery tumbled Thursday, following a strong performance Wednesday when the reported drop in the U.S. GDP strengthened the metal’s safe-haven appeal. The yellow metal was lately down $20.60 to $1,661 an ounce.
Meanwhile, crude futures declined after U.S. weekly jobless claims rose more than anticipated.
Crude for March delivery lately fell 65 cents to $97.29 a barrel.
Elsewhere, silver futures fell 84 cents to $31.33 an ounce, while the base metal copper contract shed 2 cents to $3.72 a pound.
Toronto's main sectors were lower Thursday.
The company has filed a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for a minimum of A$8.5 million, and up to a maximum of A$10.2 million offering by way of an Australian IPO, before expenses.
Silvercorp Metals (TSE:SVM)(NYSE:SVM) reported Thursday results from underground diamond drilling last year at its LM Mine West, in the Ying mining district in China, with more drilling planned for 2013.
Notable results included an 18.8 metre interval in hole ZKX03S31, which intercepted 368 grams per tonne (g/t) silver and 1.78% lead, including 7.95 metres grading 788 g/t silver and 3.6% lead.
Silver Bull Resources (TSE:SVB)(NYSE MKT:SVBL) unveiled Thursday a third batch of drill results from its underground drill program in its high grade zinc zone at the Sierra Mojada project in northern Mexico, saying mineralization remains open to expansion in four directions.
Notable zinc holes Thursday include 43.55 metres at 15.65% zinc, including 14.5 metres at 20.26% zinc and 9.30 metres at 15.72% zinc, including 1.95 metres at 28.35% zinc.
From the results today, widths of intercepts ranged from 1.95 to 43.55 metres, with grades between 9.08% zinc and 28.35% zinc.
Advances in the sector were seen in Niko Resources (TSE:NKO), up 4.15%, and Whitecap Resources (TSE:WCP) – up 2.73% after it announced late Wednesday a 127% increase to 2012 year-end reserves and provided an operational update.
In Canadian earnings news, fertilizer giant Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (TSE:POT) (NYSE:POT) reported Thursday that fourth quarter earnings declined over 38%, missing Street expectations amid weak demand, as its first quarter forecast also disappointed.
Looking ahead, the company said that increased demand is beginning to take hold in most major potash markets as it believes buyer confidence has been bolstered by the recent settlement of new contracts with China.
Norbord (TSE:NBD), an international producer of wood-based panels, Thursday said it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter on a better-than-expected recovery in the U.S. housing market, sending shares higher.
On the economic front, November GDP in Canada was up 0.3%, accelerating from a rise of 0.1% in October and no gain in September.
StatsCan also said that lower crude oil prices resulted in a Raw Materials Price Index sinking 2.0%, in December, while industrial product prices were flat compared to October.
U.S. stocks were mixed Thursday as investors digested mixed economic news and corporate earnings that failed to impress, while a tumbling Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) weighed on the tech heavy Nasdaq.
The Dow was lately down 15.77 points to 13,894.65, the Nasdaq rose 4.94 points to 3,147.25, and the S&P 500 edged down 1.16 points to 1,500.80.
On the economic front, new U.S. jobless claims last week jumped 38,000 to 368,000, slightly higher than economists expected.
Meanwhile, the U.S. employment cost index rose 0.5% in the fourth quarter when seasonally adjusted, matching Street expectations.
And U.S. personal income rose 2.6% in December, the fastest it has grown in 8 years and higher than economists expected.
Traders are cautious ahead of the all-important monthly jobs report, set to be released tomorrow. Analysts are calling for a rise of 180,000 jobs in January, and an unemployment rate of 7.7%.
Meanwhile, consumer spending rose 0.2%, matching Street expectations, while personal income rose by 2.6% compared to estimates for a 0.9% rise.
Finally, the Chicago purchasing-managers index on factory activity rose in January to 55.6 - well above consensus expectations for 50.5. This report is very positive, economists said, but the big gains could be a one-time surge following depressed activity going into the year-end fiscal cliff.
Earnings season continued Thursday. Shares of social networking group Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) fell more than 1% Thursday as despite beating Wall Street views late in the previous session with its quarterly results, it still disappointed some investors with mobile ad revenue growth.
Meanwhile, JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ:JDSU) climbed more than 17% after it turned to a profit in its latest quarter to beat expectations late in the prior session, while Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) gained on its forecast of higher-than-expected second-quarter sales and profit.
Mastercard (NYSE:MA) reported that its fourth quarter profit rose 18% to $605 million or $4.86 per share, topping analyst views for earnings of $4.80 a share. Revenue rose 10% to $1.9 billion, as processed transactions increased 20% to 9.2 billion.
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) posted an increase in fourth-quarter net earnings, with adjusted profit at 64 cents a share. Analysts expected the New York-based stock exchange operator to earn 61 cents a share. Revenue was basically steady at $419 million.
Elsewhere, Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) posted a wider fourth quarter net loss as quarterly sales dropped to $13.92 billion from almost $14.1 billion a year ago. On an adjusted basis, it would have earned a profit of 33 cents a share, up from 25 cents a year earlier, but still under Street estimates of 34 cents.
In the consumer sector, Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) shares were down after it posted an adjusted profit of $1.41 per share for its fourth quarter, topping analyst expectations by one penny. Sales rose 2.5% to $4.29 billion as gross margin edged up. The company said that looking ahead, it sees adjusted profit increasing at a double digit rate this year.
Hershey (NYSE:HSY) posted adjusted earnings of 74 cents a share for its latest quarter, as net income grew from the prior year period, but results still fell short of estimates. Analysts had been looking for a profit of 76 cents a share.
The chocolate company also raised its growth target for adjusted earnings in 2013 to a range of 10% to 12%, implying a profit of $3.56 to $3.63 a share, and affirmed that sales are expected to grow at 5% to 7% from 2012. Shares rose almost 2% today.
Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) reported a decline in fourth quarter profit, but adjusted profit of $2.29 a share topped estimates for $2.22 a share, as the company benefited from favourable product price and mix, and cost reduction efforts. Sales fell, however, to $4.79 billion from $4.91 billion a year earlier, in part due to the impact from currency translations.
For 2013, Whirlpool forecast adjusted profit in a range of $9.25 to $9.75 a share, with shares of the company rising more than 4%.
Shares of UPS (NYSE:UPS) declined over 2% after the shipping giant's fourth-quarter earnings and full year guidance came in below analyst forecasts.
European markets finished lower today with shares in Britain leading the declines. The FTSE 100 was down 0.73% while France's CAC 40 was off 0.87% and Germany's DAX was lower by 0.45%.