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At the open: TSX opens up led by materials, energy stocks; Wall Street also higher

Canada’s main stock index opened higher on Friday as higher oil prices boosted energy stocks, while a rise in gold prices lifted the materials sector. U.S. stock indexes also opened higher, as investors awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for clues on the direction of monetary policy.

The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, recovering from an earlier one-week low as oil prices rose and investors awaited potential clues on the outlook for monetary policies in the United States and Canada.

The U.S. dollar fell against a basket of major currencies ahead of a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at an economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Investors hope the talk will provide an indication of the central bank’s plans for monetary tightening and reaction to recent criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Investors could also get clues Friday on prospects for further interest rate increases from the Bank of Canada. Its governor, Stephen Poloz, is due to give an interview to CNBC television at about 4:15 p.m. ET.

Oil prices rose more than 1 per cent on Friday, supported by signs that U.S. sanctions on Iran are already reducing global crude supply.

Benchmark Brent crude oil rose $1.30 a barrel to a high of $76.03 by 1425 GMT, on track for gains of more than 5 per cent this week. U.S. crude was $1.20 higher at $69.03, heading for a weekly rise of more than 4 per cent.

The U.S. government reimposed sanctions on Iran this month after withdrawing from a 2015 international nuclear deal, which Washington saw as inadequate for curbing Tehran’s activities in the Middle East and denying it the means to make an atomic bomb. Tehran says it has no ambitions to make such a weapon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.60 points, or 0.12 per cent, at the open to 25,688.58.

The S&P 500 opened higher by 5.37 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 2,862.35. The Nasdaq Composite gained 29.35 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 7,907.81 at the opening bell.

At 9:30 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 56.01 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 16,382.8.

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