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Canada’s main stock index opened little changed on Thursday as gains in energy companies were offset by a decline in materials stocks.

At 9:31 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 10.05 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 16,314.77.

Wall Street opened higher on Thursday, as signs that Washington may ease back on plans for tariffs on European cars drove gains for automakers, offsetting further signs of tension with China.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 111.00 points, or 0.46 per cent, at the open to 24,285.82. The S&P 500 opened higher by 10.97 points, or 0.40 per cent, at 2,724.19. The Nasdaq Composite gained 47.98 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 7,550.66 at the opening bell.

An industry source told Reuters on Thursday that the U.S. ambassador to Germany had told German car bosses President Donald Trump could abandon his threatened tariffs in exchange for concessions.

Shares of European automakers rose, with New York-listed shares of Fiat gaining 6.1 per cent in early trading. Ford climbed 0.5 per cent and General Motors rose 1.6 per cent.

The Trump administration’s tariffs on $34-billion of Chinese imports are due to go into effect at 0401 GMT on Friday and Beijing said it would respond in equal measure on U.S. goods ranging from cars to soybeans the instant U.S. measures go into effect.

Trump has threatened to escalate tariffs to as much as $450-billion worth of Chinese goods if China retaliates.

Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York, said that there was hope in the market that leaders were still just positioning before finally coming to terms that would head off a deeper conflict.

“Trump has already said that he wants to negotiate on car tariffs, I think that’s an indication that he is negotiating to get people at the table to make acceptable resolutions for everyone,” Pavlik said.

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Amidst the tensions, a Chinese court earlier this week temporarily barred U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology from selling its main products in the country, pushing shares in the sector broadly lower before the 4th of July holiday.

Micron’s stock reversed course to trade up 3.2 per cent on Thursday after the company said the ban would hurt its quarterly revenue by just 1 per cent.

The trade dispute with China has roiled financial markets since early March, reducing the S&P 500’s gains for the year to just 1.5 percent, and pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average into negative territory.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is also set to release minutes from its June 12-13 policy meeting at 2:00 p.m. ET, where it raised interest rates for a second time this year and flagged that more are likely.

The ADP National Employment Report showed private employers added 177,000 jobs in June, below Reuters’ consensus of an increase of 19,000. That comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payroll report on Friday.

Reuters

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