TSX to open little changed, uncertainty grows over Syrian intervention
Aug 30, 2013 / 8:07 am
TORONTO - The Toronto stock market headed for a flat open Friday while oil and gold prices fell back amid uncertainty over a Syrian military intervention.
The Canadian dollar ticked 0.02 of a cent higher to 94.98 cents US ahead of the release of economic growth figures for the second quarter and June.
U.S. futures racked up minor gains with analysts expecting that traders will be reluctant to take on big positions ahead of a long weekend in the U.S. and Canada for the Labour Day holiday.
The Dow Jones industrial futures were up nine points to 14,843, the Nasdaq futures gained 4.5 points to 3,094 and the S&P 500 futures were 1.75 points higher to 1,638.5.
Markets have been rattled this week by the prospect of a U.S.-led punitive strike against Syria after an alleged chemical weapons attack. The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus.
UN investigators are currently in Syria gathering evidence about the attack.
In a surprise move, the British parliament voted late Thursday against military action in Syria, whittling down the core of the planned coalition to the United States and France. Italy and Germany have said they wonâ€™t take part in any military action.
The British vote ratcheted up pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama, who is also facing domestic skepticism about military intervention in Syria.
Obama appeared undeterred by the difficulties forming an international coalition, and advisers said he would be willing to retaliate against Syria on his own.
Easing concerns about international intervention in Syria pushed oil prices lower for a second day.
The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange lost 65 cents to US$108.15 a barrel.
Syria is not a major oil producer but a widening conflict there could affect major producers in the region or disrupt supply routes.
Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes, fell 26 cents $114.90 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Gold prices also moved lower after spiking earlier in the week and the December bullion contract on the Nymex fell $18.90 to US$1,394 an ounce.
December copper stepped back one cent to US$3.25 a pound.
European bourses were lower amid data that showed the unemployment rate across the 17 nations using the euro stuck at its record high of 12.1 per cent in July. The European Union rate of 11 per cent also held steady.
London's FTSE 100 index fell 0.54 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX declined 0.65 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was down 0.73 per cent.
Earlier in Asia, Tokyoâ€™s Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.5 per cent but gains were posted elsewhere in Asia. Hong Kongâ€™s Hang Seng rose 0.2 per cent, South Koreaâ€™s Kospi gained one per cent while Australiaâ€™s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.8 per cent.
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