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Equities

Canada’s main stock index was steady at the open Tuesday with gains in mining shares helping offset weakness in energy stocks. On Wall Street, key indexes rebounded after the previous session’s selloff with shares of IBM gaining in the wake of better-than-expects revenue in the latest quarter.

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At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 3.82 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 19,730.27.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.8 points, or 0.06 per cent, at the open to 33981.79. The S&P 500 rose 6.6 per cent, to 14330.462 at the opening bell.

Monday’s selloff, which saw the Dow post its worst showing since last fall, came as the spread of the Delta variant raised fears of a global economic slowdown. The World Health Organization has said infections and deaths are rising globally after seeing a period of decline, triggered by the more contagious delta variant.

“For so long this year the overriding concern for investors had been that the global economy might be susceptible to overheating, as the reflation trade took hold,” Michael Hewson, CMC Markets U.K., said.

“Now the worry is that growth might have peaked while prices continue to rise albeit on a slowing basis, raising concerns about stagflation.”

On the corporate side, shares of IBM were up more than 4 per cent in early trading after the company reported revenue ahead of analysts’ forecasts in the most recent quarter. The company’s net income fell to US$1.33 billion, or US$1.47 per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from US$1.36-billion, or US$1.52 per share, a year earlier. Total revenue rose 3 per cent to US$18.75 billion, beating estimates of US$18.29-billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. The results were released after Monday’s close.

After the close, investors will get Netflix results, marking the first of the FAANG stocks to report earnings. Markets will be closely watching the company’s global subscriber numbers after it fell short in the previous quarter. Netflix added fewer than 4 million new customers in the first quarter. Analysts had been looking for more than 6 million new subscribers in that three-month period.

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In this country, investors will get results from CN Rail after the close of trading. The rail company made its final pitch to regulators on July 7 for preliminary approval of its $33.6-billion acquisition of Kansas City Southern railroad.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.06 per cent in morning trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.19 per cent at midday. Germany’s DAX was little changed while France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.38 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended down 0.96 per cent after a weak handoff from Wall Street. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.84 per cent.

Commodities

Crude prices struggled to hold early gains after the previous day’s sharp declines amid continued concerns that the spread of the delta variant could weigh on the demand outlook.

The day range on Brent is US$68.40 to US$69.60. The range on West Texas Intermediate is US$66.36 to US$67.40. Both benchmarks lost roughly 7 per cent on Monday after the OPEC+ group reached a weekend agreement on output.

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“The commodity rally isn’t over just yet, but it will probably take a big break here,” OANDA senior analyst Edward Moya said. “WTI crude’s fundamentals still support another massive move higher, it will just take another month or so to shake off the growing risk aversion theme.”

Later Tuesday, markets get the first of two weekly U.S. inventory reports with the release of new numbers from the American Petroleum Institute. In another sign of a tight market, analysts are expecting to see a ninth straight week of declining weekly stocks.

OPEC, meanwhile, expects world oil demand to grow by 6.6 per cent in 2021 with the expansion weighted to the second half of the year.

In other commodities, gold prices edged up, helped by a drop in U.S. bond yields.

Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at US$1,815.61 per ounce, after hitting a one-week low of US$1,794.06 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures gained 0.5 per cent to US$1,817.90.

“The gold market is getting relief because of extremely low yields. But gold is competing with the dollar for safe-haven demand, so that is going to limit upside momentum over the near-term,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said.

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Currencies

The Canadian dollar was steady, trading near the mid-78-US-cent point, as its U.S. counterpart strengthened against a basket of currencies.

The day range on the loonie is 78.22 US cents to 78.53 US cents. On Monday, the Canadian dollar fell to a five-month low against the greenback and saw its biggest decline in more than a year as riskier assets took a hit on world markets.

“The Canadian dollar has been a casualty of the risk-off trade that engulfed the markets to begin the week,” RBC chief currency strategist Adam Cole said.

Markets, he said, have stabilized heading into Tuesday’s session.

“The rapid spread of the delta variant of COVID remains front and centre as Australia extended and broadened lockdowns and the U.S. State Department raised its travel alert for the U.K. to the highest level,” he said.

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On world markets, the U.S. dollar index, which weighs the greenback against a group of currencies, strengthened widely on Tuesday and was within striking distance of an early-April high of 93.041 hit in the previous session, according to figures from Reuters.

The euro weakened 0.1 per cent to US$1.17845, after dipping overnight to the lowest since early April at US$1.1764. The British pound was also among the top losers in early London trading with the currency declining 0.2 per cent at US$1.36470

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin sank as low as US$29,500, a level not seen since June 22, before trading 3.4-per-cent lower at US$29,748.30. Rival ether dropped nearly 5 per cent to US$1,730.33 before trimming some losses, Reuters reported.

More company news

Halliburton Co posted its second-straight quarterly profit as a rebound in crude prices from pandemic lows buoyed demand for oilfield services. The Houston-based company said net income attributable to company rose to $227-million, or 26 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30, from $170-million, or 19 cents per share, in the first quarter.

U.S. state attorneys general are expected this week to unveil a $26-billion settlement resolving claims that three major drug distributors and drug maker Johnson & Johnson helped fuel a nationwide opioid epidemic, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Distributors McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and AmerisourceBergen Corp would pay a combined $21-billion, while Johnson & Johnson would pay $5 billion. New York on Tuesday is expected to announce the distributors have agreed to a $1 billion-plus settlement with the state, the report said.

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UBS posted a 63-per-cent jump in second-quarter net profit, easily beating expectations as buoyant markets continued to help the world’s largest wealth manager generate higher earnings from managing money for the rich. The Swiss bank’s net profit of $2.01-billion far outpaced expectations for $1.34-billion in a poll of 20 analysts compiled by the group, as fee income jumped and asset prices rose at its private bank and asset management business.

Economic news

8:30 a.m. (ET) U.S. housing starts for June. Consensus is for a 1% rise in the annualized rate to 1.70 million. Also, U.S. building permits

With Reuters and The Canadian Press

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