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Canada’s main stock index opened higher Wednesday with energy stocks gaining and Dollarama shares advancing on the retailer’s latest earnings. Wall Street’s key indexes also started positive as jitters about the health of the banking sector continued to abate.

At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 143.74 points, or 0.73 per cent, at 19,801.27.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 172.29 points, or 0.53 per cent, at the open to 32,566.54.

The S&P 500 opened higher by 28.26 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 3,999.53, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 139.51 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 11,855.59 at the opening bell.

“Regardless if it is far too early to have a confident view of the implications of the current banking turmoil for the U.S. economy, nothing matters regarding stocks,” Stephen Innes, managing partner with SPI Asset Management, said in a note.

“After shifting from recession worries in January to sticky inflation fears in February and another sharp pivot contending with banking stress and credit crunch fears in March, the beat goes on as far as stocks are concerned.”

On Wednesday, Michael Barr, the Federal Reserve’s vice chair of supervision, appears again in Washington at a hearing looking at the regulatory response to recent failures in the U.S. regional banking sector. During an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Mr. Barr said he was first made aware of the interest rate risk-related issues at Silicon Valley Bank in mid-February, just weeks before its failure, Reuters reported.

In this country, the federal government’s latest budget remains in the headlines.

The Globe reports that slower economic growth and higher public spending are straining Ottawa’s bottom line, as the Liberal government’s 2023 budget announced billions in new spending on clean technology and an expanded national dental care program. The fiscal year that begins April 1 is projected to show a $40.1-billion deficit, compared with a $30.6-billion forecast in the fall update. The government expects the deficit to shrink to $14-billion by 2027-28. It had previously forecast a small surplus for that year.

On the corporate side, Nasdaq-listed shares of Vancouver-based Lululemon jumped more than 14 per cent in morning trading after the athletic attire company forecast annual sales and profit above analysts’ estimates.

Lululemon said it expects fiscal 2023 revenue between US$9.30-billion and US$9.41-billion, above analysts’ average estimate of US$9.14-billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data. The company forecast full-year profit in the range of US$11.50 to US$11.72 per share, compared with analysts’ estimate of US$11.26.

Early Wednesday, Montreal-based retailer Dollarama topped quarterly revenue forecasts when it released its latest results.

The Montreal-based company’s fourth-quarter revenue rose to $1.47-billion, from $1.22-billion a year earlier, beating expectations of $1.39-billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data. The stock was up nearly 0.80 per cent in early trading in Toronto.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.99 per cent by midday. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.90 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were up 0.91 per cent and 1.29 per cent, respectively.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 1.33 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.06 per cent with Alibaba shares boosting tech stocks.


Crude prices were up for a third session, helped by easing worries about the state of global banks and Kurdish supply concerns.

The day range on Brent was US$78.73 to US$79.30 in the early premarket period. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$73.50 to US$74.

“There’s been a broad improvement in risk appetite at the start of the week thanks to a weekend without drama in the banks,” OANDA senior analyst Craig Erlam said.

“That’s enabled stocks to bounce back and yields to creep higher on stronger economic prospects which, in turn, is lifting crude prices.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that crude exports of 450,000 barrels per day from Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdistan region were halted on Saturday following an arbitration decision that confirmed Baghdad’s consent was needed to ship the oil. On Wednesday, Norwegian oil firm DNO said it had begun shutting down production at its fields in Kurdistan, the news service said.

Later Wednesday morning, traders will get weekly U.S. inventory figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that crude stocks for the week fell by 6.1 million barrels.

In other commodities, gold prices fell as broader risk sentiment improved.

Spot gold was trading 0.6-per-cent lower at US$1,961.80 per ounce by early Wednesday morning, after rising 1 per cent on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.5 per cent to US$1,963.10.

“Risk appetite has improved and yields are rising so naturally, gold is giving back some of the banking panic gains it accumulated over the last few weeks,” Mr. Erlam said.

“Even so, it isn’t trading too far from $2,000, seemingly a major psychological obstacle, and it’s well off its recent lows.”


The Canadian dollar was steady, trading around the mid-73-US-cent mark, as risk sentiment improved and crude prices gained while it’s U.S. counterpart saw a modest advance against a group of world currencies.

The day range on the loonie was 73.43 US cents to 73.60 US cents ahead of the North American open. The Canadian dollar is up about 1 per cent over the last five days and steady over the past month.

“The CAD went on a mini run higher against the USD yesterday and is holding those gains this morning,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist with Scotiabank, said.

“The move up in the CAD is pressuring CAD short positioning that has accumulated quickly in the past few weeks as investors focused on a sidelined BoC and (through early Mar) the risk of more aggressive Fed policy tightening. That never materialized, of course, and ensuing developments have pared back Fed expectations considerably.”

There were no major Canadian economic releases due Wednesday. Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle is scheduled to speak in Montreal on market liquidity measures undertaken during COVID-19.

On world markets, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, gained 0.15 per cent to 102.64 after falling in the last two sessions. The index is down about 2 per cent for the month so far, according to figures from Reuters.

The euro was down 0.1 per cent on the day at US$1.0834 and Britain’s pound slid slightly to hit US$1.2316, just off the previous day’s near two-month intraday high of US$1.2348.

In bonds, the yield on the U.S. 10-year note was down slightly at 3.543 per cent in the predawn period.

More business news

UBS Group AG has rehired Sergio Ermotti as CEO to steer its massive takeover of neighbour Credit Suisse - a surprise move to take advantage of the Swiss banker’s experience rebuilding the bank after the global financial crisis. The trader turned corporate problem fixer faces the tough challenge of laying off thousands of staff, cutting back Credit Suisse’s investment bank and reassuring the world’s wealthy that UBS remains a safe harbour for their cash. “We felt we had a better horse,” said UBS chairman Colm Kelleher of the decision to replace current CEO Ralph Hamers after less than three years in charge. -Reuters

Macy’s Inc on Wednesday said its Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gennette will retire in February 2024, after serving the company for 40 years. -Reuters

Economic news

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr testifies before the House Financial Services Committee.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. pending home sales for February.

(12:30 p.m. ET) Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle speaks in Montreal on “The Market Liquidity Measures We Took During COVID”

With Reuters and The Canadian Press