The Toronto stock market enjoyed a positive open Thursday, as traders were encouraged by a successful bond auction by Spain that raised €2.54 billion euros.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index opened Thursday's trading day up 55.92 points to 12,184.81
The Canadian dollar slipped 0.12 cents, to 100.78 cents U.S.
In corporate news, pulp producer Fibrek has suffered a setback in its bid to thwart a hostile takeover after the Supreme Court of Canada refused Wednesday to hear an appeal of a ruling disallowing a key defensive move.
At issue was Fibrek's decision to issue special warrants to its ally, Mercer International Inc., in order to thwart Resolute Forest Products. The warrants would have increased the total number of Fibrek shares outstanding and make it more expensive for Resolute to win a two-thirds majority stake in Fibrek.
On the economic slate, Statistics Canada told us this morning that the number of those receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits fell in February from the month before by 6,700, or 1.2%, to 552,800.
The TSX Venture Exchange regained 6.18 points to 1,418, while the Nasdaq Canada index added 3.08 points to 414.44
All but three of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher soon after the opening bell. Gold shone brightest, 1.4% stronger, while the metals and mining sector tied with its cousin in global base metals, gaining 1.3% each.
The three laggards were consumer staples, shedding 0.3%, utilities, off 0.2%, and telecoms, down 0.1%.
In New York, stocks stumbled a bit Thursday morning, after a relatively successful bond auction in Spain and solid quarterly results from Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.
The Dow Jones Industrials fell back 38.79 points to open at 12,993.96.
The S&P 500 fell 3.70 points to 1,381.44, and the Nasdaq gave back 1.45 points to 3,030
An auction of €2.5 billion of Spanish 10-year bonds drew strong demand early Thursday. But Spain released a relatively low volume of bonds, helping to ensure that solid demand.
Ahead of Thursday's open, Bank of America reported that its quarterly net income had declined sharply versus last year, though this drop came after an accounting adjustment of nearly $5 billion U.S. After factoring out non-operating expenses, the company's earnings more than doubled from a year ago, and shares rose 3% in early trading.
Morgan Stanley, too, reported a large accounting adjustment that cut into its earnings.
Excluding this expense, earnings and revenue were up versus last year, and shares rose 5%.
Travelers shares rose ahead of the opening bell after the insurance provider reported earnings that handily beat expectations.
After the bell on Wednesday, American Express, eBay and restaurant operator YUM! Brands released quarterly results that beat analysts' expectations. eBay's stock rose in after-hours trading, while American Express shares rose slightly and YUM!'s shares dropped.
eBay shares rose 9% in pre-market trading Thursday.
Nokia shares were down 3% after the company reported a steep first-quarter loss, struggling against strong competition in the mobile market. Verizon shares were up slightly after the company reported earnings and revenue in line with expectations.
After Thursday's close, Microsoft will report first-quarter earnings, which analysts expect to have come in at 57 cents U.S. per share
Overall, recent corporate earnings have come in better than expected. Of the 77 companies in the S&P 500 that had reported their quarterly results as of Wednesday evening, 63 beat expectations, while eight matched and only six have missed, according to experts.
U.S. stocks closed down modestly Wednesday, as investors found new reasons to worry about Europe's economy. Spain released data showing that Spanish banks held more problem loans than expected, which added to worries over the country's finances.
Economically speaking, the U.S. government said first-time unemployment claims declined by 2,000 to 386,000 in the week ended April 14. Initial claims were expected to come in at 375,000, according to analysts.
The National Association of Realtors will release its March existing home sales data after the opening bell. Economists said they expect sales to have edged up to an annual rate of 4.68 million in March from 4.59 million in February.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained some ground, pushing the yield down to 1.96% from Wednesday's 1.98%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for May delivery balked 18 cents to $102.49 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery dropped $2.20 to $1,636.60 U.S. an ounce.