Newspaper article The Canadian Press

TSX Little Changed amid Heavy Slate of Corporate Earnings, Economic Data

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

TSX Little Changed amid Heavy Slate of Corporate Earnings, Economic Data

Article excerpt

TSX little changed amid earns, economic data

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TORONTO - The Toronto stock market closed slightly higher Thursday amid a mixed showing for corporate earnings and uneven economic data from the United States and China, the world's two largest economies.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 12.2 points to 14,664.07. The Canadian dollar was down 0.01 of a cent at 91.23 cents US.

U.S. indexes were mainly weak as data showed that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose 14,000 to 344,000 last week, the highest level since February. That was unwelcome news a day before the U.S. government releases its non-farm payrolls report for April.

Other data from the Institute for Supply Management showed that its manufacturing index rose to 54.9 from 53.7 in March as exports picked up and factories accelerated hiring.

The Dow Jones industrials was down 21.97 points at 16,558.87, the Nasdaq gained 12.89 points to 4,127.45 and the S&P 500 index slipped 0.27 of a point at 1,883.68.

Manulife Financial's (TSX:MFC) first-quarter net profit jumped 50 per cent to $818 million, or 42 cents per share. Core earnings, excluding one-time items, were up at $719 million, or 37 cents, compared with $619 million, or 32 cents, year over year. Analysts had expected 39 cents a share but its shares still ticked 16 cents higher to $20.74 as rising wealth sales compensated for lower insurance sales.

"What I like about the company is that they are de-emphasizing the insurance side of the business and putting more muscle into the wealth management side," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at 3MACS.

"I view that as a positive, the reason being the insurance product side of the business, you have to put up capital, you have capital at risk. The (wealth management side) is a fee-driven business, you don't tie up much capital."

Transportation company Bombardier Inc. …

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