Canada Stocks Close Higher; Edges Toward 3-Year High; Healthcare Caps Gains

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Canada stocks went close to three year highs Thursday, boosted by bank earnings from the likes of CIBC (CM.TO, CM) and buying of mining stocks on stronger gold and silver prices. Most sectors were higher by Healthcare bucked the trend declining more than 4% pulling down the broader index.

CIBC (CM, CM.TO) hit its highest levels in more than six years after it reported first quarter adjusted diluted earnings per share of $2.31. According to Capital IQ, the average forecast of 12 analysts was for earnings of $2.15. The bank also declared a dividend increase of 2% to $0.98 on common shares for the quarter ending April 30, 2014 payable on April 28, 2014 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 28, 2014.

The Health Care sector was interesting as it moved on the tale of two separate stocks - Catamaran (CCT.TO, CTRX) and Valeant (VRX.TO, VRX). For its part, Valeant said it earned $123.8 million, or $0.36 per share, during the three month ended Dec. 31, turning around an $89.1 million loss during the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time items, the company posted a $2.15 per share adjusted profit, up from a $1.22 gain last year and beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.09 per share.

Catamaran reported Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.56, better than the Thomson Reuters consensus of $0.54. Year-ago adjusted EPS was $0.39. Revenues were $4.5 billion, up from $3.3 billion last year. The company also provided its 2014 guidance. It said it expects adjusted EPS of $2.04 to $2.19 and revenues of $20 billion to $21 billion.



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