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Premarket: Traders on tenterhooks as Cyprus talks continue Add to ...

U.S. and Canadian stock markets appear set for a steady to slightly higher start this morning, after the S&P 500 saw its worst one-day dip in about a month on Thursday amid the ongoing uncertainty in Cyprus.

With little fresh economic data due out today, Cyprus - and the renewed worries over euro-zone stability - will be the main focus. 

Cyprus's lawmakers are working on legislation to help win a bailout from European leaders after the country's parliament earlier this week rejected a proposal that would have included an unprecedented levy on personal bank deposits. They face a Monday deadline to come up with a new plan, or risk possible default of loans that could spiral into the country's forced exit from the euro zone

Russia, which lent the country €2.5-billion two years ago, could represent a potential source of finance for Cyprus. But the latest reports suggest talks with Russia have gone nowhere. Some are speculating that Cyprus may be forced to reconsider some type of bank levy on personal deposits as part of a new funding package. The uncertainty has already created long lineups outside the country's ATM machines, as Cyprus citizens try to protect as much cash as possible.  

The selling interest that was seen Thursday afternoon in equities doesn't appear to be extending into today, despite the considerable uncertainty facing Cyprus. But trading today could be volatile as the situation in Cyprus unfolds.

Meanwhile, traders are finding encouragement in the latest developments on the U.S. fiscal front, as the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that will fund the federal government through September. That prevents what could have been a shutdown of the government starting next week - not a market friendly event.

Now, here's a closer look at what else is going on this morning and what's to come.

MARKETS:

Equities:

U.S. futures: S&P 500 +0.1 per cent; Dow +0.1 per cent; Nasdaq +0.1 per cent

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index -0.50 per cent

Shanghai composite index +0.16 per cent

Japan's Nikkei -2.35 per cent

London’s FTSE 100 +0.02 per cent

Germany’s DAX -0.08 per cent

France's CAC 40 -0.39 per cent

Italy's FTSE MIB +0.16 per cent

Commodities:

WTI (Nymex May) +0.45 per cent at $92.87 (U.S.) a barrel

Gold (Comex Apr) -0.20 per cent at $1,610.60 (U.S.) an ounce

Copper (Comex May) +0.66 per cent at $3.46 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies:

Canadian dollar down 0.0003, or 0.03 per cent, at $0.9754 (U.S.)

ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:

No major reports scheduled.

STOCKS TO WATCH:

Nike Inc. shares should rally after the shoe maker reported better-than-expected earnings late Thursday.

Tiffany & Co. shares are up 5 per cent after the company's quarterly earnings topped estimates and said full-year revenue should rise 6 to 8 per cent.

Research In Motion Ltd. launches its new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in the U.S. today as AT&T kicks off sales of the units. Shares of RIM are up 1 per cent in the premarket.

European Union antitrust regulators are looking into complaints from telecom carriers that contracts under which Apple Inc. sells its iPhone restrict competition, the New York Times reported today. But Apple shares are up 0.4 per cent.

Other earnings today include Boyd Group Income Fund.

THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:

S&P 500 operating earnings per share estimates are too optimistic - and thus the market is expensive.

When to take investing advice from Twitter.

Too big to fail in action: Investors show clear preference for big-cap U.S. financial stocks.

Four reasons to believe there will be declining risk in emerging market bonds.

________

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

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