Closing Bell TSX ends slightly higher Wall Street falls sharply amid retail

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed slightly higher Tuesday but New York finished the session sharply lower amid deep disappointment with the earnings and outlooks of retailers.The S&P/TSX composite index was ahead 10.45 points to 14,525.19.The Canadian dollar dropped 0.36 of a cent to 91.75 cents US.The Dow Jones industrials tumbled 137.55 points to 16,374.31 as the poor showing in the retail sector reinforced concerns about economic performance and the view that with so many stocks fully valued there isn’t much of an impetus for investors to drive stocks higher.The Nasdaq declined 28.93 points to 4,096.89 and the S&P 500 index was down 12.25 points to 1,872.83.Office supplies company Staples posted an adjusted first-quarter profit of 18 cents a share, three cents below expectations as restructuring charges continued to hit results and its shares retreated 12.55% to $11.71.Other retailers pressuring New York included Dick’s Sporting Goods, which skidded 18% after the firm lowered expectations for the second quarter and full year due to weakness in the retailer’s golf and hunting divisions.And Urban Outfitters fell more almost 9% as the firm said profit dropped 20% in the first quarter.“(Retailers) are improving at the margins but the issue is maybe they aren’t as robust as people were expecting or hoping,” said Kevin Headland, director of the portfolio advisory group at Manulife Asset Management.“Most economic recoveries are usually led by the consumer and this year you haven’t seen that.”Home Depot fared better as quarterly earnings ex-items amounted to 96 cents per share, three cents short of estimates. Revenue rose 3% to $19.69 billion, but missed estimates of $19.97 billion. It also raised its full-year earnings forecast and its shares gained $1.46 to $77.96.Meanwhile, Target has fired the president of its troubled Canadian operations, Tony Fisher. Target is trying to fix its operations in Canada, its first expansion outside the U.S., which have been hit with cost overruns and losses. It is also trying to recover from a massive data breach in the U.S. In New York, Target shares were down $1.68 to US$56.61.Canadian retailers also got caught up in the downdraft with Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC.A) off $1.24 to C$105.47 and Hudson’s Bay Co. (TSX:HBC) 32 cents lower to $17.30.The quarterly earnings season in Canada has pretty much wound up and now traders are waiting for results from the big Canadian banks.Royal Bank (TSX:RY) and TD Bank (TSX:TD) kick off the stream of earnings on Thursday and analysts are expecting another solid if unspectacular quarter.Analysts don’t believe the earnings will yield another leg up in stock prices for the big banks, all of which are very close to their 52-week highs.“Most expectations are for earnings to be normal, benign, a lot of importance will be put on those banks that have divisions in the U.S.,” Headland said.“So banks will come out with regular type of earnings, nothing really surprising to the upside or downside.”On the commodity markets, the energy sector was flat as June crude contract in New York lost early gains and declined 17 cents to US$102.44 a barrel.The base metals sector rose 0.12% with July copper losing two cents to US$3.14 a pound.June bullion edged up 80 cents to US$1,294.60 an ounce and the gold sector gained about 0.3%. read more

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Girl 5 makes US spelling bee history

(BBC) A five-year-old Oklahoma girl has made history by becoming the youngest person ever to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.(AP photo)Edith Fuller correctly spelled “jnana” to beat more than 50 contestants in the Scripps Green Country Regional Spelling Bee in Tulsa.She also cracked the words Panglossian, Baedeker, nisei and Croesus.The young spelling master will head to Washington in May to compete with other children across the country.The National Spelling Bee is open to contestants who have not finished the eighth grade. There is no minimum age to compete.“I feel thankful,” she said after winning the regional competition.Edith, who is home-schooled, faced off against competitors from primary and middle schools throughout northeast Oklahoma.“It’s fun to share her with everyone,” said Annie Fuller, her mother.“I knew she’d be a novelty, so I’m proud she held her own.”Annie Fuller told the Tulsa World the family realised their daughter’s potential last summer while quizzing her spelling skills.Edith correctly spelled “restaurant” without having been taught the word.Can you spell better than a five-year-old? Here are the words Edith aced on her way to glory:Jnana is a Sanskrit word for “knowledge” in Indian philosophy and religion.Panglossian is characterised by excessive optimism, regardless of circumstances.Baedeker is a guidebook, originating from the series of travel guidebooks by German publisher Kark Baederker.Nisei is an American or Canadian whose parents were immigrants from Japan.Croesus is a very wealthy person. Croesus was the last king of Lydia (c560 – 546 BC) famed for his wealth.Sarsaparilla is a tropical American climbing plant, or a sweet drink flavoured with the root of this plant.She began practising with her mother and when she would misspell a word, she would look it up and learn about the word and its origins.“We knew there was something special there,” Annie Fuller said.“Learning the words was so educational,” added Edith’s mother. “She was able to learn about different countries and cultures and different kinds of food.”Akash Vukoti, six, was last year’s youngest contestant at the National Spelling Bee.He was eliminated after misspelling the word “bacteriolytic” in the early rounds of the contest.Akash made national headlines and was interviewed on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and NBC’s Steve Harvey’s Little Big Shots.He lost at his regional bee in Texas last week and will not head to Washington this year. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related read more

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