May 6, 2010 / 2:40 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX gets boost from earnings, Magna

 * TSX up 50.56 points, or 0.4 percent, at 11,925.69
 * Materials, consumer-discretionary shares lead TSX higher
 * Magna rallies 21 percent  (Adds details, quote)
 By Jennifer Kwan
 TORONTO, May 6 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Thursday morning as several companies including Manulife Financial and BCE Inc delivered strong earnings that helped it emerge from the recent selloff spurred by Greek debt fears.
 Manulife (MFC.TO) shares climbed 4.8 percent to C$18.51 after it said that stock market gains and a 20 percent increase in insurance sales boosted earnings. [ID:nN06254945]
 BCE (BCE.TO), Canada’s biggest communications company, rose 0.5 percent to C$30.48 after posting a steep rise in quarterly profit. [ID:nN06251322]
 “By and large, earnings have come out pretty well. Case in point this morning with a few of the well-known names with Manulife and BCE,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
 At 10:07 a.m. (1402 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 50.56 points, or 0.4 percent, at 11,925.69.
 Magna International Inc MGa.TO swung to a quarterly profit on the back of a pickup in global vehicle production rates and cost cuts, and reinstated its quarterly dividend. [ID:nSGE6450HC]
 Magna also signed an agreement with founder Frank Stronach under which the dual class share structure by which Stronach has controlled Magna could be eliminated. Magna shares shot up 21 percent to C$77.42, helping to boost the index’s consumer discretionary group by 3 percent.
 The resource-heavy index also benefited from firmness in gold and base metals prices, [GOL/] [MET/L] which helped push up the materials group by 1.5 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose 2 percent to C$44.98.
 Manitoba Telecom Services MBT.TO, however, posted a quarterly profit that missed estimates, hurt by aggressive price competition and a non-cash increase in pension expense. Shares fell 0.8 percent to C$31.50. [ID:nSGE6450J8]
 Four of the index’s 10 main groups were lower, reflecting lingering caution about the possibility that Greece’s debt crisis could spread to other euro zone countries and derail economic recovery.
 Overseas stock markets fell and the euro touched a 14-month low on Thursday on fears that Greece’s debt crisis could sweep other euro zone states. [MKTS/GLOB] [FRX/]
 ($1=$1.03 Canadian)  (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)                                       

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