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Premarket: Stocks firmer on surprisingly strong Chinese data Add to ...

Markets are drifting upwards this morning, finding encouragement in unexpectedly strong trade figures in China that have eased some of the recent concerns that its economy is slowing.

Overseas stock indexes are in positive territory, though gains were less than 1 per cent, while Canadian and U.S. stock futures are pointing slightly higher.

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China’s exports rose 14.7 per cent in April, while imports grew 16.8 per cent, leaving the country with a trade surplus of $18.16-billion. Economists had expected a 10.3-per-cent rise in exports, a 13.9-per-cent increase in imports and a trade surplus of $15.1-billion.

But the figures were met with skepticism by some analysts, who believe exporters may have overstated their business flows to sneak funds into the country.  

China's gross domestic product rose 7.7 per cent from a year earlier in the first quarter, according to official Chinese data that were released in April. While that growth sounds robust, many have doubts about its accuracy, including economist David Rosenberg, who joined Inside the Market for a live discussion on Tuesday.

"China is slowing at a rate that has caught my eye of late," he said in the discussion. He said the GDP number "does not seem aligned with ISM (Institute for Supply Management) numbers on both manufacturing and services that are barely above the 50 threshold for growth."

European markets had some positive economic data of their own, with German industrial production rising 1.2 per cent in March form February, beating forecasts.

There's little in the way of U.S. economic data to drive markets today, but Canadian investors will have plenty of corporate earnings reports to digest on this side of the border.

Here's the rundown of what else is happening this morning and what's to come.

MARKETS:

Equities:

U.S. futures: S&P Toronto +0.04 per cent; S&P 500 +0.08 per cent; Dow +0.10 per cent; Nasdaq +0.13 per cent

Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.85 per cent

Shanghai composite index +0.47 per cent

Japan's Nikkei +0.75 per cent

London’s FTSE 100 +0.29 per cent

Germany’s DAX +0.61 per cent

France's CAC 40 +0.73 per cent

Italy's FTSE MIB +0.56 per cent

Commodities:

WTI crude oil (Nymex Jun) -0.04 per cent at $95.58 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Jun) +0.26 per cent at $1,452.50 (U.S.) an ounce

Silver (Comex July) -0.07 per cent at $23.79 an ounce.

Copper (Comex July) +0.98 per cent at $3.34 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies:

Canadian dollar up 0.0002, or 0.02 per cent, at $0.9956 (U.S.)

ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:

Canada Housing and Mortgage Corp. reported housing starts fell 3.5 per cent in April from March to an annual rate of 174,858 - close to expectations.

STOCKS TO WATCH:

Tim Hortons Inc. announced Marc Caira, formerly an executive with Nestlé, as its new CEO as it reported earnings per share of 56 cents, missing Street estimates of 62 cents. It also hiked its dividend by 24 per cent.

Quebecor Inc. reported a net profit of 57 cents a share, down from $1.13 per share, as its newspaper division suffered from a big drop in advertising spending.

Torstar Corp. reported adjusted profit of 14 cents per share, down from 22 cents a year ago.

Wendy's Co. reported adjusted earnings per share of 3 cents, matching Street views, but revenues came up short of expectations.

AOL Inc. said its total revenue increased by 2 per cent to $538.3 million in its latest quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of $537.1 million.

Other earnings today include: Boralex Inc.; Calian Technologies Ltd.; Centerra Gold Inc.; Denison Mines Corp.; DragonWave Inc.; Dundee Precious Metals Inc.; Enbridge Inc.; Finning International Inc.; Franco-Nevada Corp.; Genivar Inc.; Groupon Inc.; Home Capital Group Inc.; Intact Financial Corp.; Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.; News Corp.; Northland Power Inc.; Peyto Exploration & Development Corp.; Silver Standard Resources Inc.; Sun Life Financial Inc.; Thompson Creek Metals Co. Inc.;  Timmins Gold Corp.; Toyota Motor Corp.; Trican Well Service Ltd.

THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:

A sharp rally in U.S. transportation stocks is offering fresh comfort to investors expressing concern that the record-breaking run for equities was not being supported by another important market barometer.

The U.S. stock market is back to being the envy of the world.

On whether you should now avoid junk bonds as junk bond yields fall below 5 per cent.

The Global X uranium ETF could be on the verge of turning a corner.

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The premarket report is constantly updated to reflect the latest news developments and market moves. For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities.

Follow on Twitter: @eyeonequities

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