CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as big Potash profit shrugged off

Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:15am EDT
 
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 *TSX down 15.57 points at 12,551.68
 *Seven of 10 sectors weaker
 (Updates with details, commentary)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was
little changed on Thursday morning as impressive earnings from
giant fertilizer producer Potash Corp  (POT.TO: Quote) failed to move
investors and positive U.S. economic data tempered optimistic
expectations for more U.S. monetary policy easing.
 Potash Corp fell 3.3 percent to C$146.75 despite posting a
62 percent rise in quarterly earnings, which far surpassed
forecasts. [ID:nN28266653]
 "We saw most earnings beat expectations on the sales front
as well as the earnings side...one of the bright spots being
gold and agriculture," said Youssef Zohny, associate portfolio
manager at Van Arbor Asset Management.  
 "On the negative side, high expectations were built into
the price already. So the earnings beats themselves were
somewhat expected."
 Also affecting Potash, a Canadian newspaper reported that
Ottawa is growing skeptical of BHP Billiton's (BHP.AX: Quote) $39
billion hostile takeover bid for the world's largest fertilizer
producer. [ID:nN28117784]
 Gold miner Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) jumped 2.3 percent to
C$44.33 and competitor Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) surged 3.3
percent to C$75.77  after reporting solid quarterly profits
late Wednesday. [ID:nN27265533]
 The world's top gold miner Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) was up 0.5
percent to C$47.17 after reporting a 75 percent increase.
[ID:nN28108425]
 Miners were also boosted after Canadian lawmakers on
Wednesday defeated a controversial bill that would have raised
the bar on their human rights and environmental standards
overseas. [ID:nN27254250]
 At 10:36 a.m. (1436 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 15.57 points, or
0.12 percent, at 12,551.68. Seven of its 10 sectors were
weaker.
 Supporting the resource-heavy index, commodity prices
firmed as the U.S. dollar slipped, with investors eagerly
awaiting next week's key U.S. Federal Reserve meetings.
 Figures on Thursday that showed new U.S. claims for
unemployment benefits fell to a three-month low last week were
seen as reducing the chances of the Fed taking drastic action
to ease monetary policy to try to stimulate the economy.
 "People are tempering their expectations on the amount of
(Fed) quantitative easing just based on the economic data,"
Zohny said.
 In other earnings news, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO: Quote) shed 0.8
percent to C$28.86 after the company reported that operating
income was hit by weaker natural gas prices. [ID:nSGE69R0GP]
 Contract electronics maker Celestica Inc (CLS.TO: Quote) (CLS.N: Quote)
plunged 8.6 percent to C$8.30 after posting a quarterly profit
that trailed estimates, hurt by lower demand. [ID:nSGE69R0IO]
 Big-screen movie company Imax Corp IMX.TO surged 20
percent to C$4.33 after reporting an 80 percent rise in
quarterly earnings, beating estimates. It forecast its theater
network will grow faster in 2010. [ID:nSGE69B0JO]
 Business software maker Open Text (OTC.TO: Quote) dropped 6.6
percent to C$43.64 after posting a 52 percent jump in net
income on Wednesday, hurt by lower-than-expected licensing
revenue. [ID:nN27142091]
 Research In Motion RIM.TO knocked off 3.2 percent to
C$55.56 following a recent rally by the BlackBerry maker after
an analust outlook downgrade.
 ($1=$1.02 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)