Canadian and U.S. stock markets opened with modest gains, keeping the major U.S. indexes hovering just below the record highs they reached at the start of this month.
In early trading, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 22 points, or nearly 0.2 per cent, at 12,367; the S&P 500 is up 1 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 1,564; and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 12 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 14,624.
A mixed earnings report from bellwether Alcoa Inc. late on Monday did little to shake up market sentiment. The Alcoa results, which kicked off what is expected to be a lacklustre first-quarter earnings season in the U.S., saw profits beat expectations thanks largely to cost cuts – but revenues came up short amid lower aluminum prices. Alcoa shares in early trading were just a touch lower, down 0.1 per cent.
The next big earnings reports will come Friday, when JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. release their numbers.
Overnight, most European and Asian markets moved higher after finding inspiration from softer-than-expected Chinese inflation data. There’s been concern of late that inflationary pressures are on the rise in the country, which could increase pressure on policy makers to tighten monetary conditions. But the fresh numbers, which showed annual consumer inflation easing to 2.1 per cent in March from February’s 3.2 per cent while a separate report showed that producer price deflation deepened, alleviated some of those concerns.
That report is also aiding advances in base metal prices this morning, with copper in particular making some strong gains for the second day in a row as miners in Chile, the world’s top producer, hold a 24-hour nationwide strike for 24 hours. In early New York trading, copper was up 1 per cent.
Elsewhere, J.C. Penney shares were down 9 per cent in early trading after CEO Ron Johnson was ousted late Monday, replaced by former CEO Myron Ullman. Shares initially jumped on the news late Monday in after-markets trading, but later reversed course in volatile trade.
Get set for some volatile trading in Herbalife: Its shares have been halted pending news.