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Traders work at the Knight Capital kiosk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The market maker said a technology issue had affected the routing of shares of around 150 stocks to the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, where abnormal volatility roiled the markets in early trading. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Traders work at the Knight Capital kiosk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The market maker said a technology issue had affected the routing of shares of around 150 stocks to the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, where abnormal volatility roiled the markets in early trading. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

Premarket: TSX heads for flat open on sinking commodities Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was set to open little changed Wednesday amid declining oil and metal prices.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.06 of a cent to 100.76 cents (U.S.).

New York futures were slightly lower as traders looked to the latest readings on U.S. inflation and industrial production.

The Dow Jones industrial futures slipped 20 points to 13,113, the Nasdaq futures were down 3.75 points to 2,723 and the S&P 500 futures were off 2.9 points to 1,398.7.

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Inflation remains tame as the consumer price index was unchanged in July for the third time in four months. Economists had expected the CPI to rise 0.2 per cent.

And industrial production is expected to have climbed 0.5 per cent in July on top of a 0.4 per cent gain in June, helped by an expected strong showing by utilities.

“Sweltering heat in parts of the U.S. likely kept air conditioning demand even higher than usual in July, helping support a rebound in utilities output,” said a commentary from CIBC World Markets.

Oil prices slipped as demand worries increased amid an unexpected increase in oil supplies in the U.S.

The September contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost 35 cents to $93.08 (U.S.) a barrel after the American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles in the U.S. rose some 2.8 million barrels last week. Expectations were for a drop of 1.7 million.

Metal prices continued to weaken in the wake of data released over the past few days which showed slowing Chinese export growth and a sharp drop in economic growth in Japan during the second quarter. The September copper contract on the Nymex was off a penny to $3.35 (U.S.) a pound.

Bullion prices also fell back with the December contract down $6.50 to $1,595.90 (U.S.) an ounce.

Markets have rallied sharply since the beginning of June when the worsening European debt crisis started to squeeze Spain and Italy and raised worries about the viability of the global economic recovery.

But the TSX has risen about five per cent from those lows, in part because of hopes pinned on central banks to keep the rebound on track and take steps to ensure the survival of the European monetary union.

At the same time, a round of upbeat U.S. economic figures — the latest being a strong July retail sales report Tuesday — have reined in expectations of the Federal Reserve doing something in September. However, investors may not get a clearer insight into Fed policy until chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech on Aug. 31 at an annual economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Until then, markets may drift in the traditional summer lull in Europe and the U.S.

Traders are also looking to the European Central Bank and the monetary authorities to announce new policy measures in the coming weeks. While the ECB is expected to restart its bond-buying program in order to keep a lid on the borrowing rates of Italy and Spain, the People’s Bank of China is widely-tipped to cut interest rates further to shore up faltering economic growth.

European bourses were in the red with London’s FTSE 100 index down 0.47 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX declined 0.63 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 slipped 0.2 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, stock markets finished mostly lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed slightly down while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.2 per cent. Markets in South Korea and India were closed for public holidays.

Benchmarks in mainland China also fell. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.1 per cent while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index lost 0.8 per cent.

In corporate developments, Sears Canada Inc. reported a quarterly net loss of $9.8-million or 10 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $200,000 or less than a penny per share in the similar 2011 period. Revenue fell to $1.05-billion from $1.15-billion.

Agriculture equipment maker Deere said its third-quarter net income rose 11 per cent to $788-million, or $1.98 per share but fell well short of expectations of $2.31 a share as the company was hit hard by a weakening global economy and prolonged drought in the U.S.

Revenue rose 15 per cent to $9.59-billion, missing expectations of $9.61-billion.

The company formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. had a quarterly net loss of $285.9-million (U.S.) or 35 cents a share as it worked toward getting a massive copper and gold mine in Mongolia into commercial production next year. Vancouver-headquartered Turquoise Hill is now majority-owned by Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto PLC.

 
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