TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended little changed on Thursday as gold miners and some other mining issues fell and oil and gas shares rose, while corporate results were mixed.
Stronger-than-expected earnings pushed papermaker Domtar Corp up 1.9 percent to C$87.89, and pharmacy chain Jean Coutu Group up 1.34 percent to C$10.59.
But news and information provider Thomson Reuters fell 2.61 percent to C$38.11 after it reported adjusted earnings that missed estimates. It said it plans to sell two businesses to fund further investment.
Imperial Oil cut early losses after reporting a lower-than-expected profit, but still ended the session 0.72 percent lower at C$49.91.
Potash Corp dragged on the materials group, falling 2.75 percent to C$52.69, after it reported a higher quarterly profit but disappointed some investors who had expected more.
“We’ve got some minor variances from expectations that seem to be weighing on the markets a little bit today but there’s no big news item that’s really got people running one way or another,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co Investment Counsel.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 1.83 points at 13,894.40. Six of the index’s 10 main groups advanced, with the heavily weighted energy group rising 0.42 percent. The materials group led on the downside, falling 0.76 percent.
Still, there were enough strong earnings in both Canada and the United States to offset new concerns about the U.S. economy. Data on Thursday showed U.S. economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter as higher food and gasoline prices dampened consumer spending, and pushed up a broad measure of inflation at the fastest pace in 2-1/2 years.
The report follows acknowledgment by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday of a slowdown in first-quarter growth. The Fed described the recovery as proceeding at a “moderate pace”, and confirmed plans to complete its $600 billion bond buying program in June.
Research In Motion, the second biggest heavyweight riser on Thursday, may come under pressure on Friday after it cut its earnings outlook for the current quarter after the market close. It said it expects to ship fewer BlackBerry smartphones in the quarter but maintained its robust full-year forecasts.
RIM finished Thursday’s session up 2.03 percent at C$53.83. In after-hours trading, its U.S. shares slid 12 percent.
Analysts said there was also some caution in the market resulting from a surge in the polls by the left-leaning New Democratic Party ahead of Canada’s May 2 general election.
The NDP, now second in the polls behind the Conservatives, is proposing significantly higher corporate taxes, and the possibility of the party coming to power has ruffled some market feathers.
“In terms of Canadian equities, I have people who are just pausing or just sitting on their hands until we get through the next couple of days here, just to find out for sure what might transpire,” said John Kurgan, senior market strategist at commodity futures brokerage Lind-Waldock Canada.
Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway