Canadian Stocks Little-Changed as Earnings Offset Oil Shares

  • CIBC, CCL Industries rally as earnings top analyst estimates
  • Energy stocks pare losses as oil rebounds on gasoline supply

Canadian stocks wiped out a loss in afternoon trading, as oil producers pared declines and better-than-expected earnings from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce helped buttress a rally in financial shares.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 12,753.60 at 4 p.m. in Toronto, reversing a loss of as much as 0.8 percent. The advance pushed the benchmark gauge’s rise since Feb. 11 to 5.5 percent and pared its February decline to 0.5 percent. The index is attempting to avoid a ninth loss in the past 10 months.

The S&P/TSX remains among the best-performing markets in the developed world this year, trailing New Zealand and topping returns from markets in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. Shares in the Canadian benchmark trade at about 19.5 times earnings, roughly 11 percent more expensive than the valuation of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

CIBC added 2.6 percent after posting higher profit driven by retail and business banking. The lender also raised its dividend. Toronto-Dominion Bank added 1.4 percent after saying fiscal first-quarter profit rose 7.9 percent on gains in its Canadian and U.S. retail businesses. The lender also raised its quarterly dividend by 7.8 percent to 55 cents a share.

Among 20 S&P/TSX companies to report earnings today, CCL Industries advanced 6.5 percent to a month high after beating expectations, while grocery store owner Loblaw Cos. lost 0.5 percent as earnings missed.

Energy companies pared losses as oil rebounded. The S&P/TSX Energy Index erased most of its declines after data showed inventories of gasoline dropped for the first time in 15 weeks. Stockpiles fell 2.24 million barrels last week, according to an Energy Information Administration report yesterday. The decline coincided with a gain in crude stockpiles to the highest level since 1930.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. slipped 0.6 percent. Chief Executive Mike Pearson, who has been on medical leave with severe pneumonia, is recovering, a spokeswoman said Thursday, although he remains sidelined from the job. Former Chief Financial Officer Howard Schiller is still acting as interim CEO, the company said.

Semafo Inc. climbed 9.6 percent, to a September 2014 high, after posting a feasibility study for its Natougou gold project in Burkina Faso. During the first three years, average annual production will be more than 226,000 ounces, according to a statement today.

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