The Toronto stock market was higher amid strong earnings reports from TD Bank (TSX:TD), CIBC (TSX:CM) and National Bank (TSX:NA) along with a major announcement from grocer Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX: L).
The S&P/TSX composite index added 7.68 points to 12,164.97 as the market failed to find lift from the bank reports.
Loblaw stock soared almost 25 per cent to $41.84 after the company said it wants to unlock shareholder value by creating one of the largest real estate investment trusts in Canada. Units of the REIT are expected to be sold in an initial public offering to be completed in mid-2013, subject to regulatory approvals.
TD Bank's (TSX:TD) quarterly profit amounted to $1.66 per share before adjustments, down two cents per share from the same time last year. On an adjusted basis, TD had $1.83 per share of diluted earnings, up from $1.75 per share a year earlier and two cents a share above a consensus estimate. Its shares dropped 89 cents to $81.69.
TD also announced it is buying the U.S.-based Epoch investment management business for US$668 million in cash.
CIBC (TSX:CM) shares dipped two cents to $80.50 as the bank had $852 million or $2.02 of net income in the fourth quarter, an increase of nearly $100 million from the same time last year. On an adjusted basis, CIBC's fourth-quarter profit amounted to $2.04 per share, six cents above estimates.