Canada’s main stock index opened up Thursday helped by gains in cannabis stocks. Wall Street’s key indexes also advanced in early trading with shares of Facebook-parent Meta Platforms jumping in the wake of a positive earnings report.
At 9:33 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 97.53 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 20,464.25.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 79.79 points, or 0.24 per cent, at the open to 33,381.66. The S&P 500 opened higher by 19.30 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 4,075.29, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 117.80 points, or 0.99 per cent, to 11,972.15 at the opening bell.
“Tech seems to be acting as somewhat of a haven trade,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst with CMC Markets U.K., said.
Meta shares were up more than 14 per cent in early trading on the Nasdaq after the company beat expectations on profit and revenue in the latest quarter and forecast better-than-expected current-quarter revenue.
Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said AI was helping the company boost traffic to Facebook and Instagram and earn more in ad sales, according to Reuters. As well, Meta said it reached a milestone of more than 3 billion people using at least on of its apps each day.
Big tech earnings continue Thursday with results from Amazon and Intel after the close of trading.
In Canada, Bombardier reported results this morning. The jet maker said it generated quarterly revenue rose 17 per cent to US$1.5 billion. Adjusted net income was US$113-million, compared with a loss of US$69-million a year earlier.
Canadian investors will also get a look at the country’s housing market when Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. releases its market forecast.
On the economic side, Wall Street will got a weaker-than-expected reading on first-quarter GDP before the start of trading. Figures released Thursday morning showed the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 1.1 per cent, slower than markets had been expecting. Forecasts had called for growth closer to 2 per cent in the first three months of the year. The latest figure also marked a slowdown for the 2.6-per-cent annual rate of growth seen in the fourth quarter of last year.
The report comes ahead of next week’s rate decision by the Federal Reserve. Markets are still expecting a quarter percentage point increase next Wednesday.
In corporate news, Canada’s Teck Resources continues to be at the forefront after the company pulled its plan to split into two units just ahead of an expected shareholder vote on Wednesday. Teck says it will propose an alternate plan. The Globe’s Niall McGee reports this morning that the move increases the chances that one of the last of the country’s big miners will be swallowed up by a foreign interest.
The Globe’s Eric Reguly reported early Thursday that Glencore is willing to take its bid directly to Teck shareholders if the board continues to reject negotiation efforts.
Teck’s B shares were up nearly 1 per cent shortly after the start of trading in Toronto.
Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.05 per cent in morning trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.05 per cent. Germany’s DAX was flat and and France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.25 per cent.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.15 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.42 per cent.
Crude prices steadied after two sessions of sharp losses with recession concerns continuing to weigh on sentiment.
The day range on Brent was US$77.71 to US$77.77 in the premarket period. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$74.26 to US$74.84.
Prices fell nearly 4 per cent yesterday, adding to Tuesday’s losses.
“Oil has been in freefall over a challenging economic environment, banking jitters, disappointment with China’s reopening, fears of overtightening by the Fed, and on expectation Permian basin production has yet to peak,” OANDA senior analyst Ed Moya said.
Crude prices found limited support on Wednesday from weekly U.S. inventory figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The EIA data showed U.S. crude inventories fell last week by 5.1 million barrels to 460.9 million barrels, exceeding analyst forecasts of a 1.5 million drop in a Reuters poll. Gasoline and distillate stocks also fell.
“The economy is weakening but it isn’t falling off a cliff, so we shouldn’t be seeing oil trade near the low US$70s,” Mr. Moya said.
“China’s recovery is not materializing, and U.S. demand is weaker, so US$100 oil won’t be happening.”
In other commodities, spot gold was up 0.4 per cent at US$1,997.23 an ounce early Thursday morning and U.S. gold futures rose 0.7 per cent to US$2,008.90.
“It looks like gold’s best friend is a little bit of financial stress as that has helped swaps no longer fully price in a rate hike by mid-year,” Mr. Moya said in a note. “Gold got its groove back and unless First Republic is miraculously saved and we don’t see any immediate stress on other midsized banks, the precious metal could make a run towards record highs.”
The Canadian dollar was steady in early trading while its U.S. counterpart was largely flat against a group of world currencies after losing ground in the previous session.
The day range on the loonie was 73.28 US cents to 73.45 US cents in the predawn period.
“The CAD is still finding it hard to come out from under the USD’s shadow amid softer crude oil prices — and commodities more generally — and steady short-term rate spreads,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist with Scotiabank, said in an early note.
There were no major Canadian economic releases due Thursday. February GDP figures are set for release Friday along with an early estimate of March economic growth.
On world markets, the U.S. dollar index little changed at 101.41. That followed a 0.39-per-cent decline on Wednesday, according to figures from Reuters.
The euro was last up 0.08 per cent at US$1.104, not far off Wednesday’s one-year high of US$1.1096.
Britain’s pound and Japan’s yen were little changed, Reuters reported.
More company news
French oil and gas major TotalEnergies said on Thursday it had accepted an offer to sell its Canadian oil sands operations to Suncor Energy for US$4.1-billion, with potential additional payments of up to US$450-million. The company had initially planned to spin off the business. -Reuters
Canadian Pacific Kansas City says its net income for the first quarter of 2023 was $800-million, up more than 35 per cent from $590-million a year earlier. The Calgary-based railway company says diluted earnings per share were 86 cents, up more than 36 per cent from 63 cents the same quarter last year. Revenues for the quarter ended March 31 were $2.27-billion, up more than 23 per cent from $1.84-billion a year earlier. -The Canadian Press
Heavy machinery maker Caterpillar Inc on Thursday reported a rise in first-quarter profit as a boost in U.S. infrastructure spending kept its order books full and softened the hit from higher manufacturing costs. Adjusted profit for the quarter rose to US$4.91 per share from US$2.88 a year earlier. -Reuters
Mastercard Inc reported a fall in first-quarter profit on Thursday, as higher expenses overshadowed a surge in spending volumes. The U.S. card firm’s profit for the quarter ended March fell to US$2.4-billion, or US$2.47 per share, compared with US$2.6-billion, or US$2.68 per share, a year earlier. -Reuters
(8:30 a.m. ET) Canada’s Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours for February.
(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. initial jobless claims for week of April 22.
(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. real GDP for Q1.
(10 a.m. ET) U.S. pending home sales for March.
With Reuters and The Canadian Press