Solid bank earnings helped give the Toronto stock market a modest gain Thursday while traders also looked to remarks this morning from U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 29.56 points to 14,218.14 as CIBC (TSX:CM) posted quarterly net income of $1.18 billion, up nearly 50 per cent from a year ago and partly due to its sale of half its Aeroplan credit card business to TD Bank (TSX:TD).Ex-items, CIBC’s earnings were up 6.3 per cent to $951 million or $2.31 a share, 15 cents better than estimates. TD’s adjusted net income was $2.02 billion, or $1.06 per common share, two cents ahead of estimates.TD hiked its dividend by nine per cent to 47 cents per share while CIBC’s will be going up about two per cent to 98 cents per share. TD shares rose 17 cents to $49.59 while CIBC gained $1.25 to $91.84.The Canadian dollar was off 0.12 of a cent to 89.74 cents US.New York indexes were lacklustre while traders also digested data showing that orders for durable goods declined a seasonally adjusted one per cent in January compared with December. Much of last month’s decline was driven by a 20.2 per cent drop in demand for commercial aircraft, a volatile month-to-month category.The Dow Jones industrials shed 19.27 points to 16,179.14, the Nasdaq was down 4.02 points to 4,288.05 while the S&P 500 index slipped 2.36 points to 1,842.8.Yellen’s testimony before the Senate’s Banking Committee was supposed to take place earlier this month but was postponed because of a fierce winter storm in Washington. Investors will be looking to see what she says about how tough weather conditions have impacted the economy and if the Fed plans to further taper its bond purchases.In other earnings news, Maple Leaf Foods (TSX:MFI) dropped two per cent to $15.88 as it reported an adjusted quarterly operating loss of $21.7 million or 25 cents a share, a big miss from the six cents a share of adjusted profit that analysts had estimated.Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (TSX:VRX) reported quarterly net income of $124 million, or 36 cents per share, compared to a loss of $89.1 million a year ago. Revenues in the quarter were $2.1 billion, up 109 per cent compared to a year earlier and its shares were up $1.32 to $163.70.The gold sector led TSX advancers, up two per cent as April bullion gained $4.20 to US$1,332.20 an ounce.The base metals sector was up 0.7 per cent as May copper lost two cents to US$3.19 a pound.A major decliner was Taseko Mines (TSX:TKO) after the federal government again rejected its proposed $1.5-billion, open-pit, gold-copper mine in British Columbia’s Interior over environmental concerns. The environment department rejected the New Prosperity Mine for a second time because it will cause significant adverse environmental effects that can’t be mitigated and its shares fell 15 cents or 6.33 per cent to $2.22.The energy sector was off 0.17 per cent as the April crude contract in New York dipped 44 cents to US$102.15 a barrel.
The QueenCredit:PA Sting, the musician, has admitted his collaboration with Shaggy may not be exactly to the Queen’s taste, as they prepare to play in a concert to celebrate her birthday. The duo, described as a “pop/reggae pile up”, will play at the Royal Albert Hall amid a host of artists for the Queen, to mark her 92nd birthday on Saturday.Sting, the former Police front man, said: “We are going to be playing for Her Majesty. I’m not sure we are her musical taste, frankly.”Shaggy, appearing on ITV’s Loose Women, added: “I beg to differ because I think she’s definitely down with some reggae music.”Sting continued: “We are going to do our best and if we don’t, well we will be in the Tower the next morning.” Telegraph music critic Neil McCormick praised the Sting-Shaggy collaboration as “two musicians…beyond caring about perceptions, simply determined to have fun”.Describing their work, he said: “Over a breezy Caribbean groove, Sting confesses that ‘the ghost of Bob Marley haunts me to this day’, while Shaggy adds enthusiastic interjections:“Big up the UK, man, yeah, bam bam!’” The pair will join a line-up of performers playing songs from throughout the Queen’s reign, including Sir Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Shawn Mendes, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Anne-Marie, Craig David, and a winner of The Voice. Shaggy and Sting perform onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY AwardsCredit:Getty Concerns about the artists performing at the concert have already been raised by Gyles Brandreth, a Royal biographer, who said this week: “In a reign longer than any other monarch in our history, the Queen really has seen it all. And my feeling is that by now she’s probably seen enough.“This is supposed to be the Queen’s birthday treat. It’s always possible that, encouraged by [Prince] Harry, and with great-grandchildren popping out all over the place, she has chosen to get down with the kids. If not, give her a George Formby singalong by all means, but spare her Shaggy.”The Queen’s birthday concert will be broadcast by the BBC on Saturday. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Queen will celebrate her 92nd birthday on SaturdayCredit:PA Helen George, the Call the Midwife star, actor Luke Evans, and Strictly Come Dancing winner Tom Chambers will perform classics from musicals Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady and Top Hat, and 40 members of the George Formby Society will perform hits on the ukulele. Zoe Ball, who will host the concert, has said: “I’m ridiculously excited to be presenting what must surely be the best birthday party ever!“We’ll make sure Her Majesty has a fantastic 92nd birthday and enjoys this ultimate celebration of music in her honour.”