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Equities

Canada’s main stock index opened down on Tuesday with energy shares slipping on the back of weaker crude prices. On Wall Street, key indexes also turned lower after the previous session’s solid gains as spiking coronavirus infections raised concerns about reopening economies.

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At 9:31 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 81.35 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 15,588.32.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 115.02 points, or 0.44 per cent, at the open to 26,172.01. The S&P 500 opened lower by 13.28 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 3,166.44, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 21.19 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 10,412.46 at the opening bell.

“We are heading into second quarter earnings season though which will naturally be a disaster, albeit one that will more than likely get a free pass, as investors focus more on the reopening prospects,” OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam said.

“Even this isn’t straightforward though, with reopening comes risk as many states in the US are now seeing. Second wave anxiety is putting a downer on the economic enthusiasm that accompanied the lifting of restrictions around the world and its left investors caught in two minds about the great stock market recovery.”

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 rose by 5 per cent or more in 23 U.S. states on Sunday. In the first five days of this month, 16 U.S. states reported record increases in new COVID-19 cases, according to Reuters figures. On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked six more counties to shutter indoor businesses. Reuters also reported that lockdown measures were reimposed in Australia’s second biggest city Melbourne on Tuesday, confining its residents to all but essential travel for another six weeks.

In this country, Toronto home sales bounced back in June, with the average selling price climbing 12 per cent over the past year, as competition heated up after a brief slowdown from the coronavirus pandemic. The Globe’s Rachelle Younglai reports, in the Toronto region, sales and prices have rebounded to pre-COVID-19 levels. The largest residential market in the country saw 8,701 homes sold in June, up 84 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month and a similar volume of sales compared with June, 2019, according to the board.

Overseas, Europe’s biggest markets were lower in afternoon trading after the European Commission released a disappointing economic outlook. The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.89 per cent. Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 1.34 per cent. Germany’s DAX lost 1.18 per cent and France’s CAC 40 was off 0.94 per cent.

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In a forecast released early Tuesday, the EU executive said the bloc would contract by a record 8.7 per cent this year before rising by 6.1 per cent in 2021. In early May, the Commission had forecast a downturn this year of 7.7 per cent and a rebound in 2021 of 6.3 per cent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index built on the previous session’s sharp gains, added 0.37 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei slid 0.44 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.38 per cent.

Commodities

Crude prices fell in early going as rising coronavirus infections and concern over reimposed lockdowns weighed on hopes for the recovery in demand as economies reopen.

The day range on Brent so far is US$42.50 to US$43.19. The range on West Texas Intermediate is US$39.99 to US$40.79.

In the United States, Florida has reimposed some limits on openings as new infections spike. California’s governor also asked additional counties to restrict some indoor activities as that state continues to battle rising infections. In Australia, Melbourne has also had lockdown measures reimposed.

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“While concerns remain about the increasing coronavirus infection count recently, both supply and demand seem to be moving in the right direction,” AxiCorp chief market strategist Stephen Innes said.

“However, it will be the government’s healthcare responsiveness to these virus hotspots and the ability of the soft lockdown measures to control the spread that could ultimately be the litmus test for the oil market.”

Later Tuesday, markets get the first of two weekly U.S. inventory reports with new numbers of the American Petroleum Institute. More official numbers follow Wednesday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Analysts polled by Reuters are expecting to see gasoline stockpiles rise by about 100,000 barrels.

In other commodities, gold prices were steady and held near their highest levels in eight years.

Spot gold was little changed at US$1,783.56 per ounce, about US$5.40 off the eight-year high hit last week. U.S. gold futures edged up 0.1 per cent to $1,794.40.

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“The proliferation of new COVID-19 cases globally has added to lingering nerves, with investors preferring to hedge that risk via gold, even as they load up on equities again,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA, said.

Currencies

The Canadian dollar was down early Tuesday as the currency moves alongside a pullback in global risk sentiment and weaker crude prices.

The day range on the loonie is 73.59 US cents to 73.93 US cents.

“The calendar is relatively quiet, leaving FX to track broader risk sentiment,” Daria Parkhomenko, FX strategy associate with RBC, said in an early note.

On world markets, other risk currencies also took a breather.

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The Australian dollar fell 0.5 per cent against the U.S. dollar to 69.40 US cents after lockdown measures were reimposed in Melbourne, with residents asked to restrict themselves to only essential travel for the next six weeks as officials look to contain a virus outbreak. Australia’s central bank also left interest rates unchanged Tuesday, although that announcement had little impact on the currency.

Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar index edged up 0.2 per cent to 96.972.

The euro sat just below a two-week high seen on Monday at US$1.1311 and Britain’s pound was steady at US$1.2505.

More company news

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Supreme Court handed another setback to the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada on Monday by keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit for the project. TC Energy needs the permit to continue building the pipeline across U.S. rivers and streams. Without it, the project faces more delay just as work on it had finally begun this year following years of courtroom battles, the wire service said.

Lufthansa announced another package of restructuring measures on Tuesday, including a 20% cut in leadership positions and the reduction of 1,000 administrative jobs, as it battles with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Lufthansa said it would also cut the investment volume for new aircraft in half, with its financial plan allowing for up to 80 new aircraft for the group’s fleet up to 2023.

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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said second-quarter operating profit likely rose 23% as solid chip sales to data centers bulking up in a work-from-home economy during the pandemic offset weak demand for smartphones and TVs. The South Korean tech giant said operating profit was likely 8.1 trillion won (US$6.80-billion) in the quarter ended June, far above the 6.4 trillion won analyst forecast by Refinitiv SmartEstimate. Revenue likely fell 7% to 52 trillion won from a year earlier, the company said.

Bayer shares on Tuesday after a U.S. judge questioned part of the German company’s proposed settlement to deal with future claims relating to allegations that its widely used weedkiller Roundup caused cancer. Last month Bayer agreed to pay as much as US$10.9 billion to settle close to 100,000 U.S. lawsuits related to Roundup. That included $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation. That part of the settlement requires court approval. “The Court is skeptical of the propriety and fairness of the proposed settlement, and is tentatively inclined to deny the motion,” Judge Vince Chhabria said in a filing with the United States District Court, Northern District of California.

Uber Technologies Inc on Tuesday further expanded delivery offerings, launching an app-based grocery service in several Latin American and Canadian cities, with the United States to follow later this month. Customers in Canada’s Montreal and Toronto, eleven Brazilian cities, including in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, four Chilean cities, Colombia’s Bogota and Peru’s Lima will be able to order groceries from local stores and chains through the Uber Eats app.

Economic news

(10 a.m. ET) Canada's Ivey Purchasing Managers Index for June.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. Job Openings Labor Turnover Survey for May.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press

Editor’s note: The value of the Australian dollar has been corrected from an earlier version of this story.
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