The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 77.02 points at 15,228.52, with gains limited by earnings misses from big Canadian insurers and a major corporate shakeup at transportation giant Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B).
Bombardier shares tumbled 35 cents or 11.5 per cent to $2.69 after the Canadian corporate giant suspended its dividend and announced plans to raise up to C$2.5 billion. Bombardier has faced a string of delays related to its new CSeries jetliner and cost estimates keep climbing.
"They have their issues with the CSeries; (it) seems like it’s taking forever," said Allan Small, senior adviser at HollisWealth. "There’s no light at the end of the tunnel and the fact their stock is trading in the two-dollars-and-change range is not a surprise."
Bombardier also announced that Pierre Beaudoin is stepping down as president and CEO and will take over as chairman from his father, Laurent, who is retiring. The Beaudoins are members of a family that has controlled the company since it was founded.
General U.S. dollar weakness also pushed the Canadian dollar ahead 0.95 of a cent to 80.06 cents US.
U.S. indexes were positive as investors focused on a ceasefire deal in Ukraine. France and Germany brokered a deal that will see a ceasefire take effect in Ukraine on Sunday.
The Dow Jones industrials gained 110.24 points to 17,972.38, the Nasdaq composite index was ahead 56.43 points at 4,857.61 and the S&P 500 index advanced 19.95 points to 2,088.48.
Insurance stocks also weighed on the TSX in the wake of earnings reports from Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) and Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF).
Manulife's core earnings were 36 cents per diluted share, five cents below estimates. It also said that macroeconomic factors including low interest rates "produces headwinds in 2015."
"This low interest rate environment ensures they are going to struggle," Small said.
Sun Life's net income on an adjusted basis came in at $360 million or 59 cents per share, missing estimates of 78 cents per share.
Manulife fell 51 cents to $21.33 while Sun Life lost $2.73 to $39.23.
The TSX energy sector was ahead 1.33 per cent as March crude gained $2.37 to US$51.21 a barrel.
Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) expects to cut its workforce by about 15 per cent, with the bulk of the cuts coming from its contractors. Its shares dipped five cents to $24.63. Oil companies have scrambled to cut costs as prices have slid about 40 per cent since late November amid a huge supply/demand imbalance.
The base metals sector ran up 4.25 per cent as April copper gained six cents to US$2.60 a pound.
The gold sector edged up 0.1 per cent as April bullion rose $1.10 to US$1,220.70 an ounce.
The telco sector dipped 0.2 per cent even as Telus Corp. (TSX:T) increased its fourth-quarter profit 7.6 per cent from a year ago to $312 million, helped by growth in its wireless business. Adjusted earnings were 53 cents, in line with estimates, but its shares slipped a penny to $43.53.
The Greek debt crisis also vied for investor attention after the country's talks with eurozone creditors on overhauling its bailout loans broke down.
Still, markets were optimistic a deal will be reached in time for Greece to avoid a potential exit from the euro.