SP 500 falls most in 4 months TSX tumbles as investors get

TORONTO — North American stock markets had their biggest one-day tumble since early February on Thursday but analysts were hard-pressed to identify a single reason for the drop.The S&P/TSX composite index in Toronto fell 194.08 points to 15,330.74, as a number of big Canadian corporations missed earnings forecasts, but the index remained up about 1,736 points since the beginning of the year.New York’s Dow Jones industrials plunged 317.06 points to 16,563.3, leaving the index below where it started the year by about a dozen points. The Nasdaq lost 93.13 points to 4,369.77 and the S&P 500 index declined 39.4 points to 1,930.67.The loonie closed down 0.02 of a cent to 91.71 cents US.The U.S. Federal Reserve indicated Wednesday that it will keep short-term interest rates low “for a considerable time” after it ends its bond purchases, likely in October. The Fed is expected to start hiking rates mid-2015, but stronger than expected economic growth in the second quarter has investors concerned that the Fed could raise rates sooner.Argentina moved into a debt default for the second time in 13 years after a deadline of midnight Wednesday night came and went without a deal with bondholders.And volume is less than usual with many market participants on holidays.But the stock market declines also come at a time when many investors have registered substantial gains. “You get thinner markets and it doesn‘t take much to move things around,” said Wes Mills, chief investment officer Scotia Private Client Group.“Clearly everyone has made good money and there is no evidence that people are taking money off the table yet. It‘s probably just an overdue correction in a thin summer market with a combination of factors.”Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which is making a hostile takeover bid for Botox maker Allergan, posted a quarterly net profit of $126 million or 37 cents a share. Adjusted income was $651 million, or $1.91 per share, missing estimates of $1.98 a share, and its shares fell $9.59 or 7% to $127.83.Barrick Gold Corp. delivered a US$269-million quarterly net loss and $159-million of adjusted earnings in the second quarter, missing analyst estimates on both counts. The adjusted profit amounted to 14 cents US per share, two cents below estimates. Barrick shares dipped 44 cents to $19.70.Suncor Energy Inc.  posted net income of $211 million, or 14 cents per share, compared to $680 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier. Operating earnings, which strip out the effects of unusual items, came in at $1.14 billion or 77 cents a share, 20 cents below estimates and its shares were down $1.02 to $44.77.First Quantum Minerals fell  4.33% to $25.86 as copper sales increased but earnings per share came in at 23 cents, three cents short of forecasts.Going against the grain was corporate software company Open Text, up 14.5% to $60.64 as its quarterly profit doubled while revenue improved by more than 40%.And Bombardier Inc. reported its adjusted earnings were US$192 million, or 10 cents — a cent ahead of estimates and its shares climbed six cents to $3.73.The TSX energy sector was down 1.75% as September oil moved $2.10 lower to US$98.17 a barrel.The metals and mining sector fell 2.27% with September copper off a penny at US$3.23 a pound.The gold sector fell about 2.2% while December gold faded $14.10 to US$1,282.80 an ounce. read more

Sun Life Financial Inc earnings beat estimates hikes dividend by 6

TORONTO — Sun Life Financial Inc., citing “solid contributions from all four pillars” of its business, has reported first-quarter earnings that easily beat estimates and announced a six per cent increase in its dividend.In a report issued Tuesday after markets closed, the big Toronto-based insurer said underlying net income, which removes the impact of items such as interest rates and equity market movements, was $516 million or 84 cents per share in the three months ended March 31.That was up from $440 million or 72 cents in the comparable year earlier period and easily beat the average analyst estimate for adjusted net income of $471 million or 77 cents per share as compiled by Thomson Reuters.Net income was $441 million or 72 cents per share, up from $400 million or 65 per share in the same period last year, matching per share estimates as compiled by Thomson Reuters.Meanwhile, the company said it was increasing its quarterly dividend by two cents a share to 38 cents, payable June 30 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 27.The Canadian Press read more

Markets update at midafternoon

On the markets at midafternoon (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 46.99 points to 15,901.76.The Dow Jones industrial average was up 87.55 points to 23,417.01.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 5.99 points to 2,563.14.The Nasdaq composite index was down 1.31 points to 6,562.58.The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.84 cents US, down from Wednesday’s average price of 78.30 cents US.

HBC names CVS Health executive Helena Foulkes as its new CEO

At the department store chain, Foulkes will be responsible for HBC’s global strategy and operations for all of its banners. She will also be appointed to HBC’s board of directors.“The future of retail will be defined by companies that think creatively about where the consumer and the world are headed,” Foulkes said in a statement.Foulkes added that one of her priorities will be to “build upon strategies that capitalize HBC’s physical and digital assets and deepen our core operating effectiveness.”The department store is grappling with persistent losses in an increasingly tough retail environment by implementing a transformation plan.It included cutting 2,000 jobs across North America in an effort to save the company $350 million annually by the end of fiscal 2018. The company has also expanded its online offerings and is looking at ways to unlock more value from its vast real estate holdings. TORONTO — A former executive with the CVS pharmacy chain will be the new CEO for Hudson’s Bay Co., Canada’s oldest company and owner of Saks Fifth Avenue and other retail operations.Helena Foulkes will start in the role on Feb. 19, the Toronto-based company said Monday in a statement.Richard Baker has been acting as HBC’s interim CEO since the departure of Jerry Storch last fall. Baker will continue as governor and executive chairman.‘They are now way behind Amazon and Walmart’: Challenges mount at Hudson’s Bay as losses almost doubleHBC withholding info in deceptive-pricing probe, Competition Commissioner saysHBC says Competition Bureau’s mattress pricing probe has cost it US$425,000“Helena is a transformational leader who will invigorate the business with a new perspective as we position HBC for the future,” Baker said in a statement.Foulkes comes to HBC after 25 years at CVS Health Corp., a health-care company with about 9,700 pharmacies. Since January 2014, Foulkes was the company’s executive vice-president and president of subsidiary CVS Pharmacy.Helena is a transformational leader who will invigorate the business with a new perspective as we position HBC for the futureRichard Baker, HBC interim CEO read more

Lankan woman kids rescued from sand dune off India

The police rescued the woman and her children. The woman and her children were brought to the marine police station at Mandapam. Local fishermen spotted the woman and her children on a sand dune beyond Arichalmunai and alerted the marine police. The police were investigating further. (Colombo Gazette) The marine police at Mandapam in Tamil Nadu rescued a woman and her three children stranded on a sand dune off the Dhanushkodi coast in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday morning, the Times of India reported today.The woman, who was born in India, was married to a Sri Lankan. She has been living in Sri Lanka since 2013 with family. Investigation revealed that her name is V Thangam, 30, wife of Vigneswaran of Pandaranayagapuram in Sri Lanka. Vigneswaran is working abroad and Thangam and her children were living with her mother-in-law.Thangam told the police that her mother-in-law had tortured her and her children. So she and her children decided to go to her mother’s house in Maniachi in Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu. She and her children took an illegal ferry from Talaimannar on Wednesday night. They were dropped on third sand dune near Arichalmunai. read more

Several new Ministry secretaries appointed following reshuffle

Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation – G S. Vithanage Several new Ministry secretaries were appointed today following the recent cabinet reshuffle.Among the new Ministry secretaries appointed were a new secretary to the Ministry of Health and and Ministry of Petroleum. Plantation Industries – J. A. RanjithScience Technology and Research – Shirani WeerakoonLabour, trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development – S. A. N. Saranathissa Irrigation and Water Resource Management – Jayantha Wijeyrathne Following is the list of the new secretaries; Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine – Udaya R. SenevirathnePetroleum Resources Development – Upali Marasinghe Regional Development – A. P. G. KithsiriDevelopment Activities – L. D. SenanayakeMahaweli Development and Environment – Anura Dissanayake read more

Sri Lanka enforces UN resolution on nuclear and biological weapons

Further, member States are requiring to establish domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of these weapons and means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials. Any person who or group or entity which manufactures, acquires, possesses, develops, transports, transfers or uses nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery within Sri Lanka, will be seen as committing an offence under these regulations and shall on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding twenty years or a fine not exceeding five million rupees or both such fine and imprisonment.Any person who or group or entity which participates in manufacturing, acquiring, developing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using nuclear chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery as an accomplice or assists or finances them commits an offence under these regulations and shall on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding one million rupees or both such fine and imprisonment. The Security Council of the United Nations acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, on 28th April, 2004, unanimously adopted Resolution 1540 (2004). Download (PDF, 37KB) A person shall not make available any funds, other financial assets and economic resources and financial or other related services directly or indirectly to, or for the benefit of, a person, group or entity to manufacture, acquire, develop, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery or for the purposes to proliferate nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon related materials.Any person who, for the peaceful purposes, deals with nuclear chemical and biological weapon related materials shall comply with and maintain the minimum accounting, and securing measures in production, use, storage and transport and minimum physical protection measures in accordance with the relevant written law.There shall for the purpose of these regulations, be a Competent Authority who shall be appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Minister assigned the subject of Defence. (Colombo Gazette) The Government has issued a gazette against the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and other related activities in line with United Nations regulations.The gazette issued by the Foreign Ministry states that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004), and the modifications and strengthening of the Resolution by the subsequent resolutions including 1673 (2006), 1810 (2008), 1977 (2011), 2055 (2012) and 2325 (2016) and any other subsequent resolution, which set out wide-ranging requirements for the prevention\of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, impose upon member States of the United Nations a series of obligations to take appropriate legal measures to prohibit any natural or legal person, group or entity acting without the lawful authority of any member State to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, as well as attempts to engage in any of the foregoing activities, participate in them as an accomplice, assist, or finance them. read more