TSX Hops To Pre-Easter 50 Pts In Gains As Financials Swing From Negative To Positive; Most Focus On Blackberry

Yesterday when Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, overcame early losses and put in a valiant attempt to get back in to positive territory over the remainder of the day, it fell just short in the end. Today, after the index overcame losing nearly 40 points at the open and another 14 points quickly thereafter and got back to positive territory it managed to follow through to end the day up 50 points.

Much of the recovery was down to a swing back in to positive ground for financials like Manulife (MFC.TO) and Royal Bank (RY.TO), both of which weighed early on. MFC closed up 1% near $15, and shy of a year high $15.75. RBC gained close to 1%.

The big story of the day was the release of Q4 results and details on how smartphone sales are tracking from Blackberry (BB.TO, BBRY).

Shares of BlackBerry actually finished 2% higher at $15.09 on the TSX after a day of wild swinging. Indeed, in U.S. premarket trading it was up 8% straight after the result, but was just as quickly down 2%. In Toronto it lost gains that saw it touch an early day high of $15.81 and slump to a day low $14.38 inside the last hour, before it recovered.

Today, it reported Q4 revenue of $2.7 bln, down 36% from year ago levels and below the analyst consensus of $2.8 bln on Capital IQ. But adjusted EPS was $0.22, well ahead of expectations of a loss of $0.31 per share. The company shipped about six million smartphones, including about one million of its new BlackBerry 10 units, which was largely as forecast. It reported a subscriber base of about 76 million, a drop from near 79 million in the previous quarter.

Looking forward, the company will be increasing its marketing investment in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 in support of the global launch of BlackBerry 10. Including the anticipated 50% sequential increase in marketing spending, the company believes it will approach breakeven financial results in the first quarter based on its lower cost base, more efficient supply chain, and improved hardware margins.

MarketWatch reported: "Crude oil futures gained ground Thursday, with their fifth consecutive win locking in sizeable advances for March and for the first quarter of 2013" It said: "Crude oil for May delivery rose 65 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $97.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Tracking front-month contracts, oil futures rose 5.6% for the month, and gained 5.9% for the quarter. Trading will be closed for the Good Friday holiday."

MarketWatch also reported: "Gold futures on Thursday slipped back below $1,600 an ounce, as an upward revision to fourth-quarter U.S. growth and an orderly reopening of banks in Cyprus helped to calm investors' nerves," MarketWatch reported. It said: "June gold, the most-active contract, settled at $1,595.70 an ounce, down $11.50, or 0.7%, on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Tracking the most-active contracts, gold futures rose 1.1% for the month, but lost 4.8% for the first quarter. Trading on Comex will be closed for Good Friday."

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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