Canada’s main stock index edged higher at Friday’s opening bell, helped by against in commodities-linked stocks and an advance by Air Canada on the back of positive earnings.
At 9:38 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 60.85 points, or 0.3%, at 20,478.46.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.07 points, or 0.18 per cent, at the open to 33,370.58.
The S&P 500 opened higher by 7.92 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 4,138.54, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 22.02 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 12,350.52 at the opening bell.
“Markets have failed to fully embrace softer U.S. inflation data, as renewed fears of a global economic slowdown have markets, outside of tech, leaning risk-off,” Stephen Innes, managing partner with SPI Asset Management, said.
“Investors are growing concerned about weak China data, the U.S. debt ceiling impasse, and the ongoing situation with regional banks.”
U.S. President Joe Biden and congressional leaders had been scheduled to meet again on raising the U.S. debt ceiling in a bid to avoid default, but the session has reportedly been delayed until next week.
“Most think the saga will be resolved without any significant disruptions,” Mr. Innes said. “The presumption is based on history and the view that no elected official wants to wear the ‘I started a recession button’ heading into an election year.”
In Canada, investors got results from Air Canada and Cineplex before the start of trading.
The Globe’s Eric Atkins reports this morning that Air Canada posted its second consecutive profitable quarter on Friday, signalling Canada’s largest airline is slowly leaving behind the financial ruin of the pandemic as travellers return to the skies. Air Canada’s profit in the first three months of 2023 reached $4-million, compared to a loss of $974-million in the same period of 2022. Operating revenue almost doubled to $4.9-billion from the year-ago quarter due to higher demand for air travel.
Air Canada shares gained more than 2 per cent shortly after the opening bell in Toronto.
Elsewhere, insurer Sun Life topped analysts’ estimates in the latest quarter, helped by strong insurance sales in Canada and the U.S. Sun Life’s underlying net income rose 24 per cent to $895-million. On a per share basis, it earned $1.52 per share, a cent over analysts’ expectations, according to Refinitiv data. The results were released after Thursday’s close.
Elsewhere, Elon Musk says he has found a new CEO for Twitter, tweeting: “Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!” He didn’t identify the person although the Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino was in talks for the job.
Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.65 per cent in morning trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.45 per cent. New figures out of Britain on Friday showed that economy managed a 0.1-per-cent gain in the first quarter. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were up 0.52 per cent and 0.94 per cent, respectively.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended up 0.90 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.59 per cent.
Crude prices were headed to a fourth consecutive week of declines as a cloudy picture for global economic growth raises concerns about demand.
The day range on Brent was US$74.15 to US$75.46 in the early premarket period. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$70.14 to US$71.50.
Both benchmarks saw modest gains Friday morning but still looked set for a weekly loss. A fourth weekly decline would mark the longest streak of losses since late 2021.
“We foresee neither a turning point in demand growth to the upside nor to inadequate supply from non-OPEC,” Edward Morse, global head of commodity research for Citi Group, said in a morning note.
“If anything, the chances are that demand will continue to underperform expectations through the year just as demand has disappointed globally year to date.”
He said OECD demand looks flat to down compared with last year amid the likelihood that global economic growth will fall short of the expected 2.4 per cent given aggressive tightening of monetary policy.
In other commodities, gold prices were down, pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar although economic uncertainty also helped boost the metal’s safe-haven appeal.
Spot gold fell 0.2 per cent to US$2,010.63 per ounce by early Friday morning and was down 0.2 per cent for the week. U.S. gold futures shed 0.3 per cent to US$2,015.00.
The Canadian dollar was little changed in early trading while its U.S. counterpart was on track for its best weekly showing since February.
The day range on the loonie was 74.06 US cents to 74.19 US cents in the early premarket period. The loonie is down about 0.86 per cent over the last five days.
There were no major Canadian economic releases due Friday.
On world markets, the dollar index was slightly higher at 102.11 on Friday and on its way to a weekly gain of 0.84 per cent, according to figures from Reuters.
The euro was down marginally against the U.S. dollar at US$1.091, after falling to its lowest since April 11 the previous day at US$1.09, Reuters reported.
Britain’s pound rose 0.06 per cent on Friday to US$1.252.
In bonds, the yield on the U.S. 10-year note was up slightly at 3.412 per cent in the predawn period.
More company news
The Globe’s James Bradshaw reports Onex Corp. swung to a first-quarter loss as it wrote down the value of its private wealth business, and also paused fundraising for its largest private equity fund after struggling to attract new money in a tough market. The Toronto-based private equity investor reported quarterly earnings one day after appointing Bobby Le Blanc as its new CEO, as founder Gerry Schwartz steps back to be the company’s chair and set a three-year sunset date on his voting control of the company.
Cineplex Inc. saw its first-quarter loss narrow compared with a year ago as its revenue increased nearly 50 per cent. The movie theatre company says it lost $30.2-million or 48 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31. The result compared with a loss of $42.2-million or 67 cents per diluted share a year ago. Revenue totalled $341.0-million, up from $228.7-million in the first three months of 2022. -The Canadian Press
Tesla Inc increased the U.S. prices of its Model S, X, and Y electric vehicles by low single-digit percentages on Thursday, though prices were still considerably lower than at the beginning of the year. The company raised the prices for all variants of its higher-priced Model S and X vehicles by $1,000, while prices of all Model Y variants increased by $250, its website showed. -Reuters
(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. import prices for April.
(10 a.m. ET) U.S. University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment for May (preliminary reading).
(10:30 a.m. ET) Bank of Canada Senior Loan Officer Survey for Q1.
With Reuters and The Canadian Press