RBC earnings, HBC real estate venture help push TSX higher
People watch an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, on Feb. 25, 2015. Global stocks were mixed on Wednesday trading.(AP / Shizuo Kambayashi)
TORONTO -- Strong corporate earnings and a major real estate deal for retailer Hudson's Bay (TSX:HBC) sent the Toronto stock market higher on Wednesday.
The S&P/TSX composite index rose 63.6 points to 15,228.57.
Shares in Hudson's Bay Co. (TSX:HBC) soared $4.38 or 19.75 per cent to $26.57 after the company announced it was joining with two major real estate trusts -- Toronto-based RioCan (TSX:REI.UN) and Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group (NYSE:SPG) -- to create two real estate joint ventures.
HBC estimates it will get $1.1 billion in cash from the transactions over time.
"We're talking about some very prime locations, major metropolitan areas in North America," said Chhad Aul, portfolio manager at Sun Life Global Investment.
"This is really just the latest in a trend that we saw with Loblaws (TSX:L) and Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC.A) -- they're trying to spin out and unlock the value of those real estate portfolios."
The financials sector led TSX advancers, up 1.25 per cent as Royal Bank (TSX:RY) posted a quarterly profit of $2.456 billion, up 17 per cent from a year ago and raised its quarterly dividend by two cents to 77 cents per share. Its shares advanced $2.75 to $77.80.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.47 of a U.S. cent to 80.5 cents.
New York indexes were little changed as traders failed to get further clues on the pace of interest rate hikes from a second day of congressional testimony by Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen.
The Dow Jones industrials gained 15.38 points to 18,224.57, the Nasdaq slipped 0.98 of a point to 4,967.14 and the S&P 500 index was off 1.62 points at 2,113.86.
The TSX consumer discretionary sector was also a leading TSX advancer, up almost two per cent as auto parts giant Magna International (TSX:MG) earned $509 million or $2.44 a share, up 11 per cent from a year ago. Sales rose about two per cent to $9.39 billion. Analysts had expected a profit of $2.24 per share and revenue of $9.08 billion. Magna also cut its revenue forecast for 2015, hurt by weak demand from Europe.
Along with the financial results, Magna announced a two-for-one stock split and hiked its quarterly dividend by 16 per cent to 44 cents per share from 38 cents. Its shares jumped $8.99 or seven per cent to $136.67.
The gold sector was ahead one per cent as the April bullion contract advanced $4.20 to US$1,201.50.
The energy sector turned positive, up 0.75 per cent, while oil prices ticked $1.71 higher to US$50.99 a barrel after five days of losses even as the U.S. Department of Energy said American inventories rose 8.4 million barrels last week, about double the amount expected.
Encana (TSX:ECA) is cutting its 2015 capital budget to between $2 billion and $2.2 billion, down about $700 million. Encana joins a host of other energy companies that have been forced to chop spending in response to a 40 per cent slide in oil prices since the end of November.
Encana's operating profit, which excludes extraordinary items, came in at $35 million, or five cents per share for the quarter. Encana shares were 22 cents higher at $16.50.
The March copper contract edged two cents higher to US$2.66 a pound and the base metals group also moved into the positive column, ahead 0.23 per cent.