TSX higher on earnings hopes for stimulus

Resource stocks helped give the Toronto stock market a solid lift Thursday as commodity prices picked up on more positive earnings news and belief that the U.S. Federal Reserve is ready to help with stimulus in the future.The S&P/TSX composite index ran up 82.92 points to 11,662.07 while the TSX Venture Exchange added 2.75 points to 1,185.08.The Canadian dollar was up 0.26 of a cent to 99.2 cents US.U.S. markets were positive as traders took figures in stride which showed a surge in jobless benefits. The Labour Department says applications rose by 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000 last week, reversing a big drop the previous week. But the figures may have been distorted by seasonal factors.The Dow Jones industrials gained 27.89 points to 12,936.59. The Nasdaq composite index was ahead 23.74 points to 2,966.34 while the S&P 500 index rose 4.71 points to 1,377.49.IBM reported after the close Wednesday that quarterly earnings rose six per cent to mark the 38th consecutive quarter that IBM’s net income has climbed from the previous year.Without accounting charges for past acquisitions and the company’s pension, IBM said it would have earned $3.51 per share, beating expectations by eight cents a share. Revenue totalled $25.8 billion for the latest quarter, down from $26.7 billion a year ago, which was below expectations. IBM stock ran ahead $6.36 to US$194.61.Morgan Stanley was a disappointment. Net income rose to $564 million or 29 cents a share, missing expectations by three cents. Revenue tumbled 24 per cent to $7 billion and its stock was down 35 cents to $13.64.In Canada, the country’s biggest airline has hired a senior federal political official to be its liaison with government. Air Canada (TSX:AC.A) says Derek Vanstone — currently the Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s  deputy chief of staff — will become the airline’s vice-president for corporate strategy and government affairs, starting in September.Nexen Inc.’s (TSX:NXY) net income fell 57 per cent from a year ago to $109 million in the second quarter, a bigger decline than analysts had been estimating. Nexen earned 20 cents per share, which was seven cents per share below estimates. Nexen said the latest quarter’s results were hurt by the unsuccessful Kakuna exploration well in the Gulf of Mexico and its stock gained 27 cents to C$17.70.Shoppers Drug Mart (TSX:SC) reported second quarter adjusted earnings of $149 million or 71 cents per share, up 4.4 per cent from the same time last year and a penny ahead of estimates. Its shares improved by 63 cents to $43.29.Traders were focused on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during his two-day testimony to Congress. And while he did not indicate that another round of stimulus was imminent, his comments led investors to believe further action remained an option. The Fed has already completed two programs of asset purchases, which have the effect of increasing the supply of money, much which ends up in financial markets.Hopes for higher demand sent the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up $1.47 to US$91.34 a barrel. The energy sector was up 1.28 per cent and Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) climbed 54 cents to C$30.74.The base metals sector climbed 2.33 per cent while copper, viewed as an economic bellwether as it is used in so many industries, ran ahead five cents to US$3.53 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) was ahead 47 cents to C$31.29.The gold sector advanced 0.75 per cent as bullion prices also rose, up $12.90 to US$1,583.70 an ounce. Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) was up 28 cents to C$34.94.The strong IBM results boosted the tech sector by 0.7 per cent. Open Text (TSX:OTC) gained 43 cents to $48.59 while Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) was ahead nine cents to $7.12.Financials also supported the TSX and Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) was 36 cents higher to US$52.65.Meanwhile, a Spanish auction earlier did little to alleviate concerns over the country ahead of a Friday conference call between eurozone finance ministers.The Treasury sold C2.96 billion in bonds maturing in 2014, 2017 and 2019. Demand was roughly two times the amount on offer for each issue. But the interest rate on the five-year debt rose sharply to 6.46 per cent, from 5.54 per cent at the last such auction on July 5. The Treasury provided no comparable rates for the other maturities.Eurozone finance ministers are expected to give final approval on Friday for a bailout package of up to C100 billion for Spain’s troubled banks. The banks’ bailout was first announced in June, but it has failed to ease worries about Spain’s public finances.European bourses advances with London’s FTSE 100 index ahead 0.13 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX climbed 1.05 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.73 per cent.Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.7 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8 per cent. read more