TSX ends up as traders buy beaten down gold and energy stocks

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed slightly higher Thursday amid a mixed reaction to the latest run of earnings reports while investors also bought into gold and energy stocks that have sold off recently.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 15.12 points at 14,563.38.The Canadian dollar declined 0.28 a cent to 87.52 cents US as the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said the bank is preparing the groundwork for further stimulus measures “if needed” for the struggling European economy.His comments triggered a drop in the euro and a strengthening of the U.S. dollar which, in turn, weakened oil prices.“There’s no question about it, that as soon as you saw the U.S. dollar start moving, you saw the euro plunge, you saw crude oil knocked down,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets. He also noted that the rising currency could spell trouble for U.S. stocks as well.“If the U.S. dollar keeps going up, it’s problematic for earnings because overseas earnings come back at a lower rate — it’s harder for them to export and the stock market has completely ignored that.”Still, positive data on jobless insurance claims a day before the release of the U.S. October jobs report kept New York indexes positive as the Dow Jones industrials gained 69.94 points to 17,554.47, the S&P 500 index added 7.64 points to 2,031.21 and the Nasdaq rose 17.75 points to 4,638.47.Most of the buoyancy on the TSX came from the beaten up gold sector, which was up about 4.5% even as December gold fell $3.10 to US$1,142.60 an ounce.The TSX has had a volatile week as energy stocks were rocked by a move by Saudi Arabia to cut prices for its U.S. customers. The cut and a stronger U.S. dollar dropped crude prices to three-year lows.The higher greenback continued to weigh Thursday with the December crude contract in New York down 77 cents to US$77.91 a barrel. Still, the energy sector closed in positive territory, up almost 1%, although still down 10% in the past month.The sector was helped along by a strong report from Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Its shares gained $1.48 to C$39.74 as the energy company posted quarterly net income of $1.039 billion or 94 cents per share, compared with $1.168 billion, or $1.07 per share, a year ago. Cash flow was also down, at $2.44 billion from $2.45 billion a year ago.Base metals fell 1.8% while December copper was up one cent to US$3.02 a pound following two days of declines.The financials group was down 0.45% even as Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) said net operating income from continuing operations, which adjusts for certain factors, was $467 million or 76 cents per share, two cents ahead of estimates but its shares gave back 89 cents to $39.64.The telecom sector was also a drag, down 1.45% while Telus Corp. (TSX:T) reported that quarterly adjusted net income increased to $387 million or 64 cents per share, while revenue grew by 5.4% to $3.03 billion. The adjusted profit was three cents per share above expectations of 61 cents per share while revenue was in line with estimates. Telus shed 48 cents to $40.89.Elsewhere, Air Canada (TSX:AC) ran up 48 cents to $9.38 as the carrier posted adjusted profit of $457 million or $1.55 a share, 11 cents higher than forecasts as the airline benefited from higher revenue and cost-savings initiatives. Systemwide passenger revenue rose to $3.48 billion, up 9.4% from the same time last year.

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