The Toronto stock market opened higher Thursday as commodity prices rose amid a strong start to the corporate earnings season.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 85.84 points to begin the session at 12,112.60
The Canadian dollar gained 0.04 cents at 99.66 cents U.S.
In Canadian earnings news, Corus Entertainment Inc. handed in a profit of $31.6 million or 38 cents a share for its second quarter, beating estimates by two cents. The Toronto-based television and radio company saw its revenue increase by 8% over the same time a year before to $205.7 million.
Score Media Inc. posted a loss of $1.3 million or two cents a share loss for its latest quarter as it increased spending on product development and efforts to win sales in the U.S. market. A year earlier, Score broke even with $225,000 of net income and $10.9 million of revenue.
In other corporate developments, Resolute Forest Products has acquired nearly half of the stock in Fibrek Inc. through a hostile takeover attempt. Formerly known as AbitibiBowater, Resolute acquired nearly 61 million Fibrek shares or 46.8% ownership of the pulp and fiber producer, by the offer's deadline last night
Resolute will pay $33.5 million in cash and 1.7 million of its own shares to acquire the Fibrek shares tendered by the April 11 deadline.
Economically speaking, Statistics Canada reported this morning that our merchandise exports declined 3.9% and imports edged up 0.2%. That means Canada's trade surplus decreased from $1.9 billion in January to $292 million in February.
The agency also told us that new house prices hiked 0.3% in February, after a dip of 0.1% in January.
The TSX Venture Exchange gained 18.77 points to 1,453.90, while the Nasdaq Canada index strengthened 4.20 points to 403.42
Nine of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher to begin the day. Global base metals vied with their cousins in the metals and mining sector for the top spot, each gaining 2.9%, while gold shot ahead 2.1%.
The five laggards were weighed mostly by consumer staples, consumer discretionaries and real estate issues, each sliding 0.3%.
In New York, stocks moved higher for a second straight day Thursday, as investors continued to recover from a modest pullback at the start of April and as worries about Europe took a backseat to U.S. economic and corporate results.
The Dow Jones Industrials gained 79.89 points to begin trading at 12,885.30
The S&P 500 hiked 9.21 points to 1,377.92, and the Nasdaq took on 23.87 points to 3,040.33
Thursday will offer more corporate results to help gauge the health of the U.S. economy. Rite Aid reported quarterly results before the open in line with expectations, and Google will announce its results after markets close.
U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday, bouncing back after a string of five down days, as concerns about Europe eased and hopes for a better-than-expected earnings season rose.
Aluminum producer Alcoa led Wednesday's gains after reporting a surprise first-quarter profit late Tuesday. Meanwhile, stocks in Europe rallied as investors welcomed declining yields on Spanish and Italian bonds.
Despite the gains, it's been a rough stretch lately for U.S. stocks, with the major indexes down more than 3% this month.
This morning, shares of McKesson popped after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded the wholesale pharmaceutical company a contract worth about $4 billion U.S. a year to supply medication to VA facilities.
Rite Aid shares fell slightly after the drugstore chain reported a quarterly loss of 18 cents U.S. a share on $7.1 billion U.S. in revenue, in line with expectations.
Shares of Royal Dutch Shell dropped after the company said it had activated an oil spill response vessel to investigate a "light sheen" of oil spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sony said Thursday that it would be cutting 10,000 jobs during the 2012 fiscal year as it seeks to revitalize its struggling business. The electronics maker warned earlier this week that its annual loss would be twice as large as its prior forecast, blaming write-offs of deferred tax credits.
Oaktree Capital Group started trading under the ticker OAK after the asset management firm raised $378 million U.S. through an initial public offering Wednesday. Oaktree sold 8.8 million shares at $43 U.S. apiece, the low end of its estimated range. Shares of the company were little changed in their stock market debut.
Economically speaking, the U.S. Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose unexpectedly to 380,000 in the latest week, up from a revised reading of 367,000, which was also revised higher.
But separate reports showed no increase in overall wholesale prices in March, which was better than the 0.2% increase forecast, and the nation's trade deficit declined unexpectedly in February.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was unchanged, keeping yields at Wednesday's 2.03%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for May delivery gained 39 cents to $103.16 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery fell $5.30 to $1,653.80 U.S. an ounce.