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Canada’s main stock index started higher Wednesday after a string of losing sessions, buoyed by gains in the resource sector on the back of positive earnings reports. Wall Street’s main indexes were also up in early going after the previous session’s sell-off with corporate earnings at the forefront.
At 9:31 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 43.14 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 20,733.95.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 210.7 points, or 0.63 per cent, at the open to 33,450.92.
The S&P 500 rose 11.3 points, or 0.27 per cent, at the open to 4,186.52, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 10.1 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 12,500.881 at the opening bell.
“Global equity markets are seeing some much-welcomed relief following broad-based weakness earlier in the week. While corporate earnings results have been a mixed bag so far, concerns over the outlook for big tech amid looming interest rate hikes had been helping drive some investor anxiety,” Bank of Montreal senior economist Carl Campus said.
“Add in continued concerns over China’s latest wave of COVID infections and lockdowns and now Russia’s halted gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria and you have an extremely volatile risk environment.”
Shares of Google-parent Alphabet were down more than 2 per cent shortly after the opening bell after the company’s latest results disappointed investors. Alphabet said first-quarter sales were US$68.01-billion, 23-per-cent higher than last year but below the average estimate of US$68.1-billion among financial analysts tracked by Refinitiv.
However, Microsoft stock jumped more than 5 per cent after the tech giant forecast double-digit revenue growth for the next fiscal year, helping shore up battered technology stocks.
After the closing bell, U.S. markets get results from Facebook-parent Meta Platforms.
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In Canada, investors got results from Cenovus Energy and Teck Resources ahead of the start of trading. CP Rail reports after the close.
Cenovus posted an over seven-fold rise in quarterly profit and nearly tripled its dividend as crude prices spike on global supply concerns. The company said the base dividend will increase from $0.14 per share to $0.42 per share annually, beginning with the second quarter of this year. Cenovus said net earnings rose to $1.63-billion, or 81 cents per share, for the first-quarter ended March 31, from $220-million, or 10 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Teck Resources, meanwhile, reported a rise in first-quarter profit, helped by higher prices for copper and steelmaking coal. The Vancouver-based company said profit attributable to shareholders rose to $1.6-billion, or $2.93 per share, from $305-million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier.
Elsewhere, Cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. is laying off 250 people in a cost-cutting plan to save the company $100-million to $150-million within 12 to 18 months in order to reach profitability.
Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.77 per cent by late morning. Britain’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.79 per cent. Germany’s DAX gained 0.29 per cent. France’s CAC 40 was up 0.17 per cent. Investors were weighing news that Russian energy giant Gazprom said had halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for failing to pay for gas in rubles.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.17 per cent after a weak handoff from Wall Street. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.06 per cent.
Crude prices shook off early losses after Russian energy giant Gazprom said it had cut gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for not paying in rubles.
The day range on Brent is US$104.41 to US$105.98. The range on West Texas Intermediate is US$101.38 to US$102.99. Prices had sought direction through much of the overnight period but turned higher on the Gazprom headlines.
Gazprom said on Wednesday it halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland marking an escalation in tensions with the West amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“If Russia makes little progress in its latest offensive, the Kremlin could lash out and widen those export bans if Europe doesn’t accept the ruble blackmail,” OANDA senior analyst Jeffery Halley said in a note.
“Once Germany is included, we can assume energy prices will be heading higher once again. For now, risk aversion is capping oil’s gains.”
However, the advance was capped by continuing concerns about the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the Chinese economy. On Tuesday, China’s central bank said it would step up policy support for the economy but the International Monetary Fund also warned that Asia faces a ‘stagflation’ outlook due to a variety of factors.
Later Wednesday morning, markets will get weekly inventory figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Numbers from the American Petroleum Institute showed a rise in crude inventories but a decline in gasoline stocks.
In other commodities, gold prices were lower, weighed down by a rising U.S. dollar.
Spot gold was down 0.6 per cent at US$1,893.70 per ounce by early Wednesday morning. U.S. gold futures slid 0.3 per cent to US$1,898.60.
The Canadian dollar was down slightly, continuing recent weakness that saw it hit a six-week low during the previous session, while its U.S. counterpart continues to rally against a group of world currencies.
The day range on the loonie is 77.83 US cents to 78.27 US cents. On Tuesday, the Canadian dollar touched its lowest level since mid-March to mark a fourth straight day of declines, hit by weak global risk sentiment and a stronger U.S. dollar.
“Despite the firmer tone to equities today, the VIX [volatility index] remains above 30, however, and this will impede a deeper rebound in the CAD in the near-term, we think,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist with Scotiabank, said.
Early Wednesday, the U.S. dollar index, which weighs the greenback against a group of currencies, rose 0.3 per cent to 102.6, after touching its highest since the early days of the pandemic, according to a Reuters report.
Meanwhile, the euro fell below US$1.06 for the first time in five years. The euro slipped to a five-year low of US$1.05890 after Russia’s Gazprom said it would cut gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria. It was 0.16% lower at US$1.0616 in the early predawn period.
More company news
Toymaker Mattel Inc is exploring a sale and has held talks with buyout firms, including Apollo Global Management Inc and L Catterton, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. The talks on a possible sale come a few months after the California-based company’s chief executive officer, Ynon Kreiz, said Mattel had completed its turnaround plan and was in “growth mode.”
Boeing Co said on it was halting production of 777x through 2023 due to certification problems as well as weak demand for the wide-body jet, and disclosed US$1.5-billion in abnormal costs related to the program. For its troubled 787 Dreamliner program, the plane maker said it has submitted a certification plan to the U.S. regulator in a step toward resuming deliveries halted for nearly a year by an industrial snafu costing about $5.5-billion.
Montreal-based CGI reported a profit of $372-million in its latest quarter, up from $341.2-million a year earlier, as its revenue grew 6 per cent. The business technology and consulting firm says the profit amounted to $1.53 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, up from $1.34 per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue in what was the second quarter of CGI’s financial year totalled $3.27-billion, up from $3.08-billion in the same quarter last year.
Microsoft Corp forecast double-digit revenue growth for the next fiscal year, driven by demand for cloud computing services. Microsoft forecast Intelligent Cloud revenue of US$21.1-billion to US$21.35-billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, driven by strong growth in its Azure platform. That compared with a Wall Street consensus of US$20.933-billion, according to Refinitiv data.
CN Rail lowered its earnings forecast for the year, now predicting diluted earnings per share growth of between 15 per cent to 20 per cent. It had projected growth of 20 per cent at the start of the year. In its latest quarter, CP posted diluted adjusted earnings per share rose of $1.32 up from $1.23 in the same period last year, but below analyst expectations of $1.38, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. The results were released Tuesday afternoon.
Harley-Davidson Inc posted a drop in first-quarter profit on Wednesday, as demand for its motorcycles failed to gain momentum due to global supply-chain hurdles and surging inflation. Sales from motorcycles and related products rose about 6 per cent to US$1.30-billion. Net profit was US$223-million, or US$1.45 per share, in the first quarter, compared with US$259-million, or US$1.68 per share, a year earlier.
(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. goods trade deficit for March.
(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. wholesale and retail inventories for March.
(10 a.m. ET) U.S. pending home sales for March. Consensus is a decline of 0.5 per cent from February.
(6:30 p.m. ET) Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem and Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers appear before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
With Reuters and The Canadian Press