Closing Bell TSX ends higher commodities rise amid strong Chinese trade data

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed modestly higher Wednesday as commodity prices rose amid stronger than expected trade figures from China.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 13,900.49 +19.50 0.14%S&P 500 — 1,819.26 -0.49 -0.03%Dow — 15,963.94 -30.83 -0.19%Nasdaq — 4,201.29 +10.24 0.24%The S&P/TSX composite index gained 19.5 points to 13,900.49, held back by sliding gold stocks.The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.16 of a cent to 90.93 cents US.U.S. indexes were mainly lower following substantial gains Tuesday after both houses of Congress voted to extend the U.S. debt ceiling without any spending conditions. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 30.83 points to 15,963.94, the Nasdaq gained 10.24 points to 4,201.29 while the S&P 500 was 0.48 of a point lower at 1,819.27. Markets were also relieved after the new head of the U.S. Federal Reserve vowed a continuation of low interest rates. Janet Yellen said that while she thinks the U.S. economy is strong enough to weather a cutback in a key stimulus program, rates should stay low to support a still lacklustre economy.Meanwhile, data showed that China’s trade growth accelerated in January as imports rose 10% to $107.2 billion, up from December’s 8.3% growth. Exports rose 10.6% to $126.7 billion, more than double the previous month’s 4.3% expansion and the trade surplus widened to $31.9 billion. All three numbers beat expectations.“Without a doubt, I think it’s a huge positive,” said John Stephenson, a portfolio manager at First Asset Funds. “We think, in general, the market looks good.”Stephenson said that is because “the U.S. has had the best earnings season in two years, U.S. economic growth is likely to be 3% plus, that translates into over 7.5% earnings growth, maybe more. And then you have share buybacks.”There was major acquisition activity as Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo announced it is buying all the shares of Canada Bread Co. Ltd. (TSX:CBY) in a deal worth $1.83 billion or $72 a share. Maple Leaf (TSX:MFI) currently holds 90% of Canada Bread’s outstanding shares. Maple Leaf shares slipped 142 cents to $15.70 while Canada Bread ran up $4.94 to $72.20.On the earnings front, Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) posted quarterly earnings ex-items of $3 million or one cent a share, missing expectations of 12 cents. The carrier also warned that this year’s first quarter will continue to feel the impact of weather-related costs and the effect of the lower loonie. Its shares plunged more to $6.22.Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) fell $2.41 to $43.28 as the media and telcom company posted adjusted earnings of $347 million or 69 cents a share, missing estimates by six cents. Revenue of $3.24 billion also missed estimates of $3.3 billion while the company upped its quarterly dividend by 5%.The Chinese data helped March crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange climb 43 cents to US$100.37 a barrel and the energy sector led advancers, up 1.24%.Financials were also strong, up 0.69%.The base metals group climbed 0.35% while March copper gained four cents to US$3.26 a pound.The gold sector was the major decliner, down about 3.25% while April gold was ahead $5.20 to US$1,295 an ounce. TOP STORIESJim Flaherty changes tune on income-splitting promise, says not sure it ‘benefits our society’Why investors are wrong to blame the Fed for the slowdown in emerging marketsChina’s trade data is so good analysts doubt it’s realMexico’s Grupo Bimbo to buy Canada Bread for $1.83-billionWHAT’S ON DECK THURSDAYECONOMIC NEWSCANADA8:30 a.m.New Housing Price index (Dec): Economists expect 0.1% rise from the month before, 1.3% year over year UNITED STATES8:30 a.m.Weekly jobless claims: Economists expect 330,000 claims, down from last week Retail sales (Jan): Economists expect no change 10 a.m.Business inventories (Dec): Economists expect 0.4% rise CORPORATE NEWSUNITED STATESApache Corp. Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.80 a share Cliffs Natural Resources Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 82¢ a share Goodyear Tire & Rubber Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 63¢ a share Starwood Hotels & Resorts Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 70¢ a share Kraft Foods Group Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 61¢ a share PepsiCo Q4 earnings: Analysts expect US$1.01 a share Molson Coors Brewing Company Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 72¢ a share CANADABarrick Gold Corporation Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 40¢ a share Bombardier Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 10¢ a share Canadian Tire Corp Ltd ‘a’ Q4 earnings: Analysts expect $2.26 a share Cenovus Energy Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 32¢ a share Ci Financial Corp Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 41¢ a share Dundee Precious Metals Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 4¢ a share Encana Corp Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 18¢ a share Fairfax Financial Holdings Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 41¢ a share Goldcorp ‘a’ Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 22¢ a share Great West Lifeco Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 60¢ a share Precision Drilling Corp Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 82¢ a share Silvercorp Metals Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 2¢ a share Teck Resources Ltd Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 42¢ a share Telus Corporation Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 47¢ a share West Fraser Timber Limited Q4 earnings: Analysts expect $1.02

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