TSX heads for higher open, traders look to earnings, Fed chair remarks

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TSX heads for higher open, traders look to earnings, Fed chair remarks

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked to open slightly higher Wednesday amid major acquisition activity and corporate earnings from the resource sector.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.04 of a cent to 91.88 cents US after jumping almost 2/3 of a US cent in the wake of a sharp revision upwards to the February trade surplus.

U.S. futures also advanced as traders await testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.

The Dow Jones industrial futures gained 35 points to 16,395, the Nasdaq futures were up 5.5 points to 3,556.5 and the S&P 500 futures were ahead 3.8 points to 1,868.1.

Traders will want to hear Yellen's take on the economy after data released last week showed a small increase in gross domestic product during the quarter. But there is speculation now that the economy contracted during the January-March period, reflecting severe winter weather. At the same time, other data showed job creation coming in much stronger than expected while the jobless rate fell below 6.5 per cent, which had been the former target for the central bank to consider moving short term rates higher.

It was another heavy day for earnings from corporate Canada as pipeline company Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) posted quarterly earnings of $390 million or 47 cents per diluted share compared with a profit of $250 million or 31 cents per diluted share a year ago. Revenue totalled $10.52 billion, up from $7.9 billion in the first three months of 2013.

Talisman Energy's (TSX:TLM) quarterly net income was $491 million, or 47 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $213 million or 21 cents per share in the first quarter last year. Talisman Energy also reports cash flow of $616 million in the quarter, up six per cent from the previous quarter and a six per cent boost in production to 360,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Tim Hortons Inc. (TSX:THI) earned $90.9 million in net profit, up 5.5 per cent from $86.2 million in the same quarter of 2013. That’s 66 cents per share diluted versus 56 cents, an increase of 17 per cent year-over-year. Revenues were up 4.8 per cent to $766.4 million compared with $731.5 million year-over-year.

And media company Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) reported first-quarter net income of $7.1 million or nine cents per share, up from $4.2 million or five cents a year ago. But revenue fell 6.6 per cent to $310.5 million due to a soft advertising market.

Meanwhile, Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) aims to roughly double its oil production with the $3.1 billion acquisition of 45,500 net acres of oil-producing property in the Eagle Ford shale formation in south Texas. The deal with Freeport-McMoRan covers property which produced about 53,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter of 2014.

And Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (TSX:CP) said Wednesday that chief executive Hunter Harrison has agreed to a one-year contract extension that will keep him at the railway until 2017.

On the commodity markets, June crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 84 cents to US$100.34 a barrel.

June copper slipped two cents to US$3.04 a pound while June gold added a dime to US$1,308.70 an ounce,.

Organizations: TSX, U.S. Federal Reserve, U.S. Senate Budget Committee Dow Jones Talisman Energy Tim Hortons Inc. Enbridge Inc. Torstar Corp. Encana Corp. Freeport-McMoRan Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. CP New York Mercantile Exchange

Geographic location: U.S., TORONTO, Canada Texas

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