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Canada’s main stock index opened up on Thursday with higher oil prices underpinning energy shares. On Wall Street, key indexes were also positive at the start of trading with chipmakers benefiting from a rise in Nvidia stock on the back of strong earnings.

At 9:38 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 69.5 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 20,262.83.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 130.30 points, or 0.39 per cent, at the open to 33,175.39. The S&P 500 opened higher by 27.55 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 4,018.60, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 129.86 points, or 1.13 per cent, to 11,636.93 at the opening bell.

On Wednesday afternoon afternoon, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its latest policy meeting. The minutes showed, while most members backed slowing the pace of rate hikes, the bank continued to believe the risks of high inflation remain a “key factor” that would direct monetary policy and that more increases are needed.

“A lot of the takeaway from the minutes [on Wednesday] was that they didn’t provide a lot of new information,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst with CMC Markets U.K., said.

“That isn’t entirely true, given that we now know that a number of other Fed officials share the view of [St. Louis Fed President] Bullard and [Cleveland Fed President Loretta] Mester that more needs to be done, and in light of the data since then that position will only have hardened further.”

This morning, traders also got a second reading on U.S. GDP. New figures showed growth for the fourth quarter came in at 2.7 per cent, lower than the initial estimate of 2.9 per cent.

On the corporate side, chip stocks got a lift from the latest results from Nvidia. The chip designer forecast first-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates as its CEO said use of its chips to power artificial intelligence (AI) services like chatbots had “gone through the roof in the last 60 days,” according to Reuters. Nvidia shares jumped 14 per cent on the Nasdaq shortly after the opening bell.

In Canada, earnings continue to roll in with results from grocery giant Loblaw Cos. Ltd. before the start of trading. Results are also due from Quebecor and TransAlta.

In its latest quarter, Loblaw topped Wall Street estimates for revenue. The company’s total fourth-quarter revenue rose to $14.01-billion from $12.76-billion a year earlier. Analysts on average estimated revenue of $13.75-billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Loblaw also said it expects full-year 2023 adjusted earnings per common share to grow in low double-digits compared with the average analyst estimate of 9.64%, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Loblaw shares gained about 3 per cent in early trading in Toronto.

Elsewhere, Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals said early Thursday it had suspended ore processing operations at the Cobre Panama mine. The company and Panama’s government have been locked in a contract dispute with tax and royalties at the heart of the stalemate.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.24 per cent by midday. Britain’s FTSE 100 slid 0.11 per cent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.54 per cent and France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.34 per cent.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.35 per cent. Markets in Japan were closed.


Crude prices were modestly higher in early trading after the previous session’s sharp losses as demand and supply concerns continue to dominate sentiment.

The day range on Brent was US$80.40 to US$81.31 in the early premarket period. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$73.83 to US$74.55. Both benchmarks lost US$2 on Wednesday as concerns over interest rate hikes weighed.

“Oil markets are continuing to consolidate, albeit at a glacial pace, and today we’re seeing prices creep higher just as they near the lows from earlier this month,” OANDA senior analyst Craig Erlam said.

“While traders remain optimistic about China, they have become less so about the global economy as more and more rate hikes have been priced in.”

He said, if one of those narratives changes or we seen another significant shift in other factors affecting the market - like Russia or OPEC+ - then prices could break out of the current range.

“But they seem rather comfortable within them, mirroring the feeling of consuming countries and producers alike, it seems, both of which have been much less vocal on the price and imbalance in the markets,” he said.

Thursday’s price gains were capped by new figures showing a rise in weekly U.S. inventories. The American Petroleum Institute said crude inventories rose by 9.9 million barrels last week. Analysts had been expecting an increase closer to 2.1 million barrels.

More official figures will be released later this morning from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Gold prices, meanwhile, were relatively steady. Spot gold edged 0.1 per cent higher to US$1,826.26 per ounce by early Thursday morning. U.S. gold futures fell 0.4 per cent to US$1,833.70.

“The correction does seem to have run its course for now which could lead to further profit-taking and a retracement higher,” Mr. Erlam said.


The Canadian dollar was firmer while its U.S. counterpart held near recent highs on expectations that interest rates would remain higher for longer.

The day range on the loonie was 73.74 US cents to 73.98 US cents in the early premarket period.

There were no major Canadian economic releases due Thursday.

“In the absence of any major domestic news, the CAD’s still firm correlation with equity market volatility means that the risk backdrop (along with the broader USD trend which will also tend to reflect the overall risk mood) will remain the main drivers of intraday moves in the CAD,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist with Scotiabank, said.

On world markets, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major peers was at 104.48, steady on the day.

The euro was flat at US$1.0606, just above its near seven-week trough of $1.0598 hit in the previous session, and the U.S. dollar sat at 134.8 Japanese yen, just off its two-month top of 135.2 reached on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Britain’s pound was steady at US$1.2045.

In bonds, the yield on the U.S. 10-year note was higher at 3.947 per cent in the predawn period.

More company news

Bombardier retained its position as the world’s biggest business jet manufacturer in 2022, increasing its sales even as worries persisted around a possible economic slump. The Montreal-based company churned out 123 private planes last year, beating out for the second year in a row Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., which produced 120. However, the Savannah, Ga.-based rival took in more revenue on its sales, at US$6.6-billion compared with Bombardier’s US$6-billion. -The Canadian Press

Newmont Corp on Thursday fell short of Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit, as the world’s largest gold miner struggled with lower prices and increased costs. Average realized gold prices fell 2.2% to $1,758 per ounce in the quarter from a year earlier, while all-in sustaining cost for gold, an industry metric that reflects total expenses associated with production, rose 15% to $1,215 per ounce. For 2023, Newmont has given a production guidance between 5.7 and 6.3 million gold ounces and guided for all-in sustaining cost between $1,150 and $1,250 per ounce. -Reuters

Economic news

(8:30 a.m. ET) Canada’s Survey of Employment, Payrolls, and Hours for December.

(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. initial jobless claims for week of Feb. 18.

(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. Real GDP for Q4.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press