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Equities

Canada’s main stock index gained in early trading Monday, helped by positive global sentiment.

U.S. markets are closed for the day for a public holiday.

At 9:30 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 26.2 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 21,383.76.

In Canada, investors will get the Bank of Canada’s quarterly business outlook survey as well as the survey on consumer expectations on Monday morning.

“Today’s Q4 Bank of Canada Business Outlook Survey (BOS) was likely conducted too early to capture the impact of Omicron-related disruptions and should, as in prior iterations, emphasize business production capacity pressures and inflation concerns more than any shortfall in orders,” Alvin Tan, Asia FX strategist with RBC, said.

“Labour shortages are expected to remain a key obstacle for business growth and likely will only intensify in the near-term with large numbers of workers required to self-isolate due to the exceptional pace of virus spread in recent weeks.”

Later in the week, investors will also get Canadian inflation figures from Statistics Canada. The report is released on Wednesday morning and the annual rate of headline inflation is expected to have accelerated to 4.9 per cent in December, Mr. Tan said.

The reports come ahead of the Bank of Canada’s next policy decision on Jan. 26.

Canadian investors also got a snapshot of the the housing market.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said national home sales edged up 0.2 per cent on a monthly basis. Actual, not seasonally adjusted, monthly activity came in 9.9 per cent below the record posted in December 2020. The number of newly listed properties fell 3.2 per cent in December from November. The MLS Home Price Index rose 2.5 per cent month-over-month and was up a record 26.6 per cent year-over-year, CREA said.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.62 per cent by midday. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.79 per cent. Germany’s DAX gained 0.41 per cent and France’s CAC 40 added 0.65 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.74 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.68 per cent.

Commodities

Crude prices were stable in early going as traders bet supply will stay tight and the impact of the Omicron variant on demand will be limited.

The day range on Brent is US$85.73 to US$86.71. The range on West Texas Intermediate is US$83.80 to US$84.78. The upper end of the range on Brent represents its best level since fall of 2018.

Both benchmarks are coming off a winning week. Brent added 5 per cent last week while WTI gained 6 per cent.

“Crude prices continue to rally on optimism that the oil market will remain tight as COVID pandemic starts to move into the endemic phase,” OANDA senior analyst Ed Moya said in a recent note.

However, gains continued to be tempered by reports of a impending reserve release by China. Sources told Reuters China plans to release oil reserves around the Lunar New Year holidays between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6. The move is part of a plan coordinated by the United States.

In other commodities, gold prices were steady.

Spot gold rose 0.2 per cent to US$1,820.80 in the predawn period. U.S. gold futures rose 0.3 per cent to US$1,821.20.

Currencies

The Canadian dollar was higher, trading near 80 US cents early Monday morning, while its U.S. counterpart slid against a group of world currencies.

The day range on the loonie is 79.62 US cents to 79.99 US cents.

“The CAD is out-performing on the day on the back of firm oil prices but the domestic backdrop comes into sharper focus this week, with a number of key data points due—ahead of next week’s BoC policy decision,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist with Scotiabank, said.

On world markets, the U.S. dollar index edged down 0.1 per cent at 95.076 early Monday morning, according to figures from Reuters. The cash Treasury market was closed for a holiday on Monday.

The euro rose 0.1 per cent versus the U.S. dollar at US$1.1432, with no big economic reports on the calendar this week.

Britain’s pound was flat at US$1.3679, after climbing last week to its best level since late October.

More company news

Credit Suisse chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio has resigned after flouting COVID-19 quarantine rules, the bank said on Monday, raising questions over the embattled lender’s new strategy as it tries to recover from a string of scandals. This comes less than a year after Mr. Horta-Osorio was hired to help the bank deal with the implosion of collapsed investment firm Archegos and the insolvency of British supply chain finance company Greenshill Capital.

Amazon.com said on Monday it would not stop accepting UK-issued Visa Inc credit cards on its British website later this month as it had proposed, adding that it was working with Visa to resolve a dispute over payment fees. “The expected  change regarding  the use of  Visa credit  cards  on Amazon.co.uk  will no longer take place on January 19,” the company said in an e-mail to customers. “We are working  closely  with Visa on a potential solution  that will enable  customers to continue using their Visa credit cards  on  Amazon.co.uk.”

Unilever signaled on Monday it would pursue a deal for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health business, calling it a “strong strategic fit” after its US$68.4-billion approach was rejected. The update comes after GSK confirmed over the weekend that it had rejected the Unilever offer for its consumer healthcare business, which is home to brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Emergen-C vitamin supplement.

Economic news

(8:30 a.m. ET) Canadian manufacturing sales and new orders for November.

(8:30 a.m. ET) Canadian international securities transactions for November.

(9 a.m. ET) Canada’s existing home sales for December.

(9 a.m. ET) Canada’s MLS Home Price Index for December.

(10:30 a.m. ET) Bank of Canada Outlook Survey and Survey of Consumer Expectations for Q4.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press