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Major indexes on both sides of the border started higher Friday with optimism over the economic recovery offset concern over rising numbers of coronavirus infections in some regions.

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At 9:30 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 64.79 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 16,089.29.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.91 points, or 0.15 per cent, at the open to 26,774.62. The S&P 500 opened higher by 8.64 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 3,224.21, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 26.69 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 10,500.52 at the opening bell.

In morning trading, shares of streaming giant Netflix Inc. were down more than 6 per cent after the company reported record revenue in the latest quarter but delivered a subscriber forecast far short of analysts’ forecasts.

In the April-to-June quarter, Netflix added 10.1 million subscribers, its second highest gains on record. However, for the current quarter, Netflix said it expects to add 2.5 million subscribers, well below expectations of 5.3 million, while revenue estimates were US$6.33-billion, also short of forecasts.

In this country, Statistics Canada said wholesale sales rose 5.7 per cent to $52.6-billion in May following a record decline of 21.4 per cent in April as lockdowns slammed the economy. Six of seven subsectors reported higher sales in May, accounting for about 78 per cent of total wholesale sales.

On the corporate side, shares of Legal software provider Dye & Durham Corp. spiked more than 70 per cent in their trading debut on the TSX. Shortly after 10:30 a.m. ET, the stock was up 73 per cent at $13.

Overseas, the pan European STOXX 600 was up 0.03 per cent by afternoon. Market focus is on a meeting of European leaders Friday to discuss a US$853-billion stimulus packaged aimed at bolstering the bloc’s economy.

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Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.54 per cent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.34 per cent. France’s CAC 40 lost 0.29 per cent.

In Asia, markets edged mostly higher in the week’s final session. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.47 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.13 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei, however, finished down 0.32 per cent.


Crude prices steadied even as rising coronavirus infections continue raise concerns about the global economic recovery and rebounding demand.

The day range on Brent so far is US$42.88 to US$43.45. The range on West Texas Intermediate is US$40.29 to US$40.86. Both benchmarks lost about 1 per cent after OPEC and its allies said they would taper current production cuts by about 2 million barrels a day starting in August.

“The energy market has been a bit lacklustre recently and that was probably because the changes in [OPEC+} output were in the pipeline since the cuts were initially agreed upon,” CMC Markets analyst David Madden said.

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The increase in coronavirus infections in some regions also continues to temper investor sentiment.

On Thursday, the U.S. reported about 75,000 new COVID-19 cases, a record daily figure. Reuters reported that Spain and Australia also saw their biggest daily increases in more than two months. Cases in India and Brazil also continued to spike.

“Lingering concerns about the potential impact on demand from rising coronavirus infections and a subsequent rebound in U.S. production are the threat to the bullish view, so over the near term, the market will remain cautious,” AxiCorp chief market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.

“Still, the variables seem to be supportive of oil in the medium and longer-term.”

In other commodities, gold prices were steady, hovering near US$1,800, after a sharp drop during the previous session.

Spot gold was up 0.1 per cent at US$1,799.18 per ounce. U.S. gold futures were steady at US$1,799.90.

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“The threat to the near-term bullish view is that positive vaccine news, including the more recent possibility of promising news of a U.K. vaccine, could negatively impact gold,” Mr. Innes said.


The Canadian dollar was little changed amid a relatively quiet session on world currency markets.

The day range on the loonie so far is 73.59 US cents to 73.75 US cents.

“G10 currencies have traded in tight ranges overnight and most are ending the week within 0.5 per cent of where they started,” RBC chief currency strategist Adam Cole said.

He said the main focus for currency markets Friday will be the meeting of European leaders in Brussels to discuss stimulus measures.

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In Canada, markets got a another glimpse of the strength of the economic rebound. Statscan says wholesale sales rose 5.7 per cent in May after a record decline in April. Economists had been looking for an increase closer to 7.9 per cent.

On global markets, the euro was flat against the U.S. dollar ahead of the European leaders’ meeting.

The euro, which retreated from four-month highs reached earlier this week, held steady at US$1.1389. It was higher against the British pound at 90.72 pence.

“A positive outcome should see the single currency retest the week’s highs at $1.1450,” Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

However, an unfavorable outcome could send the euro as low as US$1.13, he said.

For the week, the U.S. dollar was on course for gains against the yen, sterling, and the Swiss franc, Reuters reports. The yuan fell by the most in three weeks, undone by a steady increase in diplomatic frictions between the United States and China, the news agency said.

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More company news

BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, reported a 21% jump in quarterly profit on Friday, as investors poured money into its fixed-income funds and cash management services. The New York-based company’s net income rose to $1.21-billion, or $7.85 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $1-billion, or $6.41 per share, a year earlier. The company ended the quarter with $7.32-trillion in assets under management, up from $6.84-trillion a year earlier.

Barrick Gold Corp said on Friday it would be willing to talk to Papua New Guinea (PNG) about reopening the Porgera gold mine but only without preconditions, after Prime Minister James Marape urged it to withdraw court action against the state. Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL) was responding to a statement from Marape on his Facebook page on Thursday saying PNG would be willing to partner with Barrick to reopen Porgera, but only after withdrawing its legal action.

Economic news

Statistics Canada says wholesale sales rose 5.7 per cent to $52.6-billion in May following a record decline of 21.4 per cent in April

U.S. housing starts rose by 17.3 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.186 million units last month, the U.S. Commerce Department said. Figures for May were revised up to a 1.011 million-unit pace from the previously reported 974,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast starts increasing to a rate of 1.169 million units.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for July.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press

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