From North America: Toronto's main market rose Thursday as investors focused on the corporate earnings season, with commodity prices also up despite a lowered growth outlook for China from the World Bank.
The World Bank cut its growth outlook for China this year to 8.2% from 8.4%, citing U.S. and European economic issues, and Chinese lending and investment curbs.
As of around 12:30pm ET, the S&P/TSX Composite was up 148.17 points, or 1.23%, to 12,174.93, while the more junior S&P/TSX Venture Composite rose 31.37 points, or 2.19%, to 1,466.49.
Commodities were in the green, with gold for June delivery rising 0.9% to $1,675.30 an ounce, and crude oil for May up 90 cents to $103.6 a barrel.
Silver futures gained 2.68% to $32.37 an ounce, while the base metal copper contract advanced more than 2.1% to $3.72 a pound.
In Toronto, metals and mining, materials, energy and industrials were the biggest gainers, while utilities edged down into the red territory.
Among materials, Eldorado Gold (TSE:ELD) rose more than 7.5%, while Osisko Mining (TSE:OSK) gained around 6.8% and First Quantum (TSE:FM) increased 6.5%.
Kinross Gold (TSE:K) also advanced 1.6%, and Lundin Mining (TSE:LUN) and copper focused Teck Resources (TSE:TCK.B) gained 2.5% and over 4.1%, respectively.
Energy equities gained around 1.65% as Suncor Energy (TSE:SU) shares rose more than 2% and Talisman Energy (TSE:TLM) was up 2.2%. Canadian Natural Resources (TSE:CNQ) also rose 3.4%.
Financials gained nearly 1% as Manulife Financial (TSE:MFC) rose almost 5%.
In Canadian corporate news, Corus Entertainment (TSE:CJR.B) said Thursday its second quarter profit rose as revenues were up eight percent on growth in its television unit.
For the three months that ended February 29, the Toronto-based media and entertainment company posted net income attributable to shareholders of $31.57 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, compared to $27.29 million, or 33 cents a share during the same period last year.
Overall revenues during the quarter hiked eight percent to $205.7 million. According to Thomson Reuters, analysts were expecting 37 cents per share in profits, on $203.1 million in sales.
Score Media (TSE:SCR) posted a loss of $1.3 million or two cents a share loss for its latest quarter as spending on product development increased, as did efforts to gain sales in the U.S. market.
Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (TSE:PNC.A) (TSE:PNC.B) reported Thursday that it narrowed its second quarter loss, benefiting from a year-prior one-time cost, despite revenues dropping nearly eight percent.
Revenue for the quarter fell 7.6 percent to $198.6 million, primarily due to a 10.6 percent decrease in print advertising revenue, with the largest declines seen in the national category, the company said.
AbitibiBowater (NYSE:ABH)(TSE:ABH), which operates under the Resolute Forest Products name, Thursday said 46.8 percent of Fibrek shareholders have accepted its $1 per share offer that values Fibrek at $130 million.
AbitibiBowater will pay $33.5 million in cash and 1.7 million of its own shares to acquire the 60.8 million Fibrek shares tendered. It has also extended its offer deadline to April 23.
Resolute had attempted to acquire at least two-thirds of Fibrek's shares through a hostile takeover bid but has been thwarted by the smaller pulp and fiber producer and Mercer International (NASDAQ:MERC), which is bidding $1.30 per Fibrek share.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX)(TSE:VRX) said Thursday it has bought podiatry-focused drug maker Pedinol Pharmacal, which makes treatments for foot, ankle and lower leg disorders.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that merchandise exports declined 3.9% and imports edged up 0.2%. This means Canada's trade surplus decreased from $1.9 billion in January to $292 million in February.
It was also reported that new house prices rose 0.3% in February, after a dip of 0.1% in January.