Traders are in a cautious mood again this morning, monitoring the European Central Bank's press conference after the ECB, as expected, kept interest rates unchanged. U.S. jobless claims data came in slightly better than forecast, helping U.S. futures to maintain modest gains.
But significant moves in the market may have to wait until Friday, when the U.S. releases its payrolls data for September.
The TSX should find some further support today from higher commodity prices this morning. Crude oil is trying to reclaim some of its steep 3 per cent loss on Wednesday, and is up nearly 1 per cent in electronic trade early this morning. Gold is inching up too, with some investors giving the sector a closer look after a number of analysts released bullish views on precious metals equities this week.
The Bank of England this morning announced it will keep its interest rates unchanged and opted against stepping up its program of government bond purchases amid some signs of economic growth. ECB President Mario Draghi is holding a news conference in which he says his recently announced bond-buying program is helping to ease tensions in the euro zone. He repeated his pledge that the euro "is irreversible" while reiterating euro zone growth is expected to remain weak.
He's expected to be quizzed on his assessment of the current negotiations with Spain, which has announced new budget measures but so far has held out on a bailout request. The request is key for the ECB to act on its bond-buying plans to stimulate the economy.
Now, here's the rundown of what else you need to know before the trading day gets underway:
Futures: Dow +0.40 per cent, S&P 500 +0.48 per cent, Nasdaq +0.53 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +0.09 per cent
Japan’s Nikkei +0.89 per cent
London’s FTSE 100 +0.06 per cent
France’s CAC 40 +0.23 per cent
Germany’s DAX index +0.11 per cent
WTI (Nymex Nov) +0.71 per cent at $88.77 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Dec) +0.71 per cent at $1,792.40 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex Dec) +0.52 per cent at $3.80 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar up 0.0013, or 0.13 per cent, at $1.0140 (U.S.)
STOCKS AND ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
U.S. jobless claims rose by 4,000 to 367,000 for the week ended Sept. 29. That's a little better than the 370,000 expected by economists.
(10 a.m ET) U.S. releases factory orders for August, which is forecast to drop 6.0 per cent, according to a Bloomberg survey.
(2 p.m. ET) U.S. Fed releases the minutes for its policy meeting on Sept. 12-13 meeting.
Several U.S. retailers, including Target and Gap, are reporting same-store sales for September.
Facebook shares are up 1.7 per cent in the premarket after announcing it now has one billion members.
Google is expanding its plan to cut jobs from its Motorola Mobility unit outside the U.S. and will take $390-million charge for severance costs. Its shares are up 0.4 per cent in the premarket.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
Kyle Bass, who famously made a fortune shorting the subprime market before the housing market collapse, is worried that there's too much debt in the world. So what's he recommending now? He suggests owning productive assets like apartment buildings and oil wells, “anything that has a real asset that’s productive.”
The "Dogs of the Dow" is a popular passive investing strategy that says investors should simply buy the ten highest yielding stocks in the Dow at the start of each year. So how have this year's Dogs done so far? Not too shabby.
Junk bond spreads are suggesting that demand for U.S. high-yield and junk bonds may have already peaked or is nearing a peak.
History suggests investors should be careful at the end of U.S. election years.
Some U.S. investors are warming to an unusual group of exchange-traded bond funds that aim to be more like individual bonds with a set maturity.
Bernanke's QE3 may have provided a bit of a lift for stocks last month, but action in the U.S. funds market shows a lot of skepticism. In the week ended Sept. 26, the second full week after the announcement of QE3, retail investors pulled $5.1-billion (U.S.) from domestic equity funds.
Consider yourself a good stock picker if you bought any of these last fall. The 10 best performing U.S. stocks since the October lows of last year.
...But hopefully you avoided these. The 10 worst performing S&P 500 stocks over the past year.
Looking ahead, Jim Cramer has revealed his favourite stock pick for the fourth quarter: Union Pacific.