TSX lower amid strong JPMorgan earnings rising consumer confidence
The Toronto stock market was slightly lower late morning Friday with buyers inclined to do little at the end of a negative week amid rising oil prices and a strong earnings report from American banking giant JPMorgan Chase.The S&P/TSX composite index eased 28.02 points to 12,205.93, while the TSX Venture Exchange was 5.85 points lower at 1,294.09.The Canadian dollar shed early gains and was unchanged at 102.18 cents US.New York markets were also listless as JPMorgan handed in a record quarterly profit of US$5.7 billion, up 34 per cent from a year ago as the bank set aside less money for bad loans. Earnings were $1.40 per share, far exceeding the $1.21 predicted by analysts polled by FactSet.Revenue rose six per cent to $25.1 billion, beating expectations of $24.4 billion. JPMorgan stock dropped 37 cents to US$41.73. However, the stock has already come back strongly from a low of $31 in early June after the bank announced a surprise trading loss that ballooned to $6 billion.Indexes also failed to find support from a strong consumer confidence reading.The Dow Jones industrials climbed 10.94 points to 13,337.33 as the University of Michigan’s index for October came in at 83.1, up from 78.3 in September. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 0.76 of a point to 3,048.65, while the S&P 500 index was down 2.22 points at 1,430.62.Earnings expectations are low for the third quarter as the eurozone debt crisis continues to take a toll on economies in Europe, affecting the results of multinationals. The malaise has also spread to developing economies such as China.Analysts expect a 2.1 per cent year-over-year decline in S&P 500 operating earnings, which would be the first year-over-year drop since the recession that followed the 2008 financial collapse.Traders also took in better than expected earnings from U.S. bank Wells Fargo. It posted third-quarter earnings per share of 88 cents, beating estimates by a penny. Revenue rose eight per cent to $21.21 billion, which was slightly lower than analysts expected and its shares fell $1.23 to US$33.95.The TSX is set to end the week lower in the wake of a gloomy assessment of the global economy by the International Monetary Fund, which reduced its growth forecast for the world economy to 3.3 per cent this year from its previous estimate of 3.5 per cent.Still, the TSX is up over seven per cent from the market lows of early June, largely because of a commitment from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to do whatever it takes to preserve the monetary union and another round of quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve.“There had to be a letdown and we are getting it,” said Pat McHugh, senior managing director and Canadian equities strategist at Manulife Asset Management.“This move from the time Draghi made his comments (in early August) to now has all been policy driven, it hasn’t been earnings driven, it hasn’t been fundamentally driven. For the near term, I’m afraid I don’t see any triggers that will move this market.”The tech sector led TSX advancers with MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (TSX:MDA) ahead 63 cents to $50.53.The energy component rose 0.13 per cent as fears that the conflict in Syria could widen and threaten oil shipments from the Mideast continued to push crude prices higher. The November contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 23 cents to US$92.30 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) gained 19 cents to C$30.20.The telecom component was down 0.3 per cent as BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) gave back nine cents to $42.92.The base metals sector was flat as metal prices backed off with December copper down three cents to US$3.72 a pound.Gold stocks were also little changed as December bullion was off $4.40 to US$1,766.20 an ounce.It was a light day on the economic calendar. In the U.S., a second month of sharp gains in gasoline costs drove wholesale prices higher in September. But outside of the surge in energy, prices were well contained. Wholesale prices rose 1.1 per cent in September following a 1.7 per cent gain in August.European bourses were weak as London’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.28 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX was down 0.3 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 declined 0.44 per cent.Earlier in Asia, markets were mixed by the close. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index ended a bad week with another 0.2 per cent decline.Telephone company Softbank led the way lower after it plunged 16.9 per cent on news that it is in talks to take a substantial stake in U.S. carrier Sprint Nextel Corp.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.7 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi was flat.