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At the open: Stocks rise as tensions over downed jetliner ease

Trader Richard Newman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The benchmark stock index has set a series of record highs.

Richard Drew/AP

The Toronto stock market advanced Tuesday as traders put geopolitical concerns aside and concentrated on corporate earnings along with key U.S. economic data.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 30.65 points to 15,280.64.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.06 of a cent to 93.14 cents (U.S.).

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U.S. indexes were higher after losing ground Monday as traders considered the impact of potentially tighter economic sanctions against Russia for its support of Ukrainian rebel militias blamed for shooting down a Malaysian airliner last week.

The Dow Jones industrial was up 31.8 points to 17,083.53, the Nasdaq rose 20.15 points to 4,444.85 and the S&P 500 index gained 6.15 points to 1,979.78.

European Union foreign ministers are meeting Tuesday to consider ratcheting up sanctions. But many investors worry about how such sanctions could impact what has been a fragile economic recovery in Europe.

Meanwhile, there was relief as pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the aircraft's black boxes.

On the earnings front, Canadian National Railways beat expectations as its second-quarter profit increased 18 per cent to $847-million (Canadian) while revenues rose 17 per cent to a record of $3.12-billion. Adjusted profit amounted to $1.03 per diluted share, three cents above analyst forecasts. CN also delivered a strong outlook and its shares ran up $1.45 to $74.40.

Other big Canadian corporations reporting earnings this week include mining giant Teck Resources, telecom Rogers Communications and grocer Loblaw Cos. Ltd., all on Thursday.

It is a particularly heavy day for earnings in the U.S. where chemical giant DuPont reported net income that climbed by 3.9 per cent in its second quarter to $1.07-billion (U.S.), or $1.15 per share, matching analyst expectations. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were $1.17 per share, which matched forecasts. Revenue decreased 1.4 per cent to $9.71-billion and missed Wall Street forecasts and its shares were down one per cent to $64.91.

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Coca-Cola Co. reported quarterly sales that fell short of estimates, rising three per cent as demand remained weak for Diet Coke in North America. Excluding one-time items, it earned 64 cents per share, which was a penny more than analysts expected, but its shares dropped three per cent to $1.13.

And McDonald's shares fell 2.33 per cent to $95.28 as the fast food giant posted earnings per share of $1.40, which missed estimates. It also reported flat comparable sales.

Traders will also take in reports Tuesday from Apple and Microsoft.

The metals and mining sector led TSX advancers, up 1.64 per cent, while September copper rose two cents to $3.22 (U.S.) a pound.

The energy sector climbed 0.53 per cent while the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped 21 cents to $102.65.

The gold sector was down 0.5 per cent while August bullion declined 80 cents to $1,313.10 an ounce.

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On the economic front, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the consumer price index rose 0.3 per cent during June, which matched economists' expectations.

Later in the morning, the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales in June. Economists expect sales increased two per cent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million.

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