TSX heads for higher open amid Syria jitters
Sep 5, 2013 / 8:32 am
TORONTO - The Toronto stock market appeared set for a slightly higher open Thursday as caution continues to rule markets amid uncertainty over Syria and ahead of August U.S. jobs data.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.05 of a cent to 95.36 cents US.
U.S. futures were tepid with the Dow Jones industrial futures off five points to 14,919, the Nasdaq futures gained 4.25 points to 3,132.5 and the S&P 500 futures slipped 0.5 of a point to 1,654.
Markets have been preoccupied this week with the prospect of the U.S. leading a military strike against the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad, which it accuses of using deadly sarin gas against civilians. President Barack Obama is seeking congressional approval for such a strike and a vote could come as soon as next week.
The key economic event of the week occurs Friday when the U.S. Labor Department releases its employment report for August. Economists expect the economy will have cranked out about 180,000 jobs during the month, although some traders to think the number could be much higher as lower numbers of people applied for jobless insurance.
On Thursday, payroll firm ADP reported that the American private sector created 176,000 jobs last month.
The numbers out Friday may determine if or how much the U.S. Federal Reserve pulls back on the asset purchases that have kept long term rates low and supported a rally on many stock markets this year.
Overseas, the Bank of England has kept its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.5 per cent. The decision was widely expected, as new Governor Mark Carney has said the bank would refrain from raising rates until unemployment fell from the current 7.8 per cent to seven per cent.
The European Central Bank also left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.5 per cent. The bankâ€™s governing council decided at its monthly meeting Thursday that the slowly recovering euro area economy didnâ€™t need a further stimulus.
Commodities were higher with October crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead 68 cents to US$107.91 a barrel.
Oil prices rose after new U.S. indicators underlined a modest recovery in the worldâ€™s biggest economy.
A jump in U.S. auto sales helped brighten the outlook for oil consumption. General Motors and other U.S. carmakers posted strong sales in August, giving the auto industry its best month in six years.
The Federal Reserve also said Wednesday that surveys showed moderate growth throughout the country.
December copper edged up a penny to US$3.25 a pound while December bullion gained $6.30 to US$1,396.30 an ounce.
On the corporate front, BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) was up two per cent in pre-market trading after the Wall Street Journal reported that the smartphone maker has narrowed the list of possible bidders for all or part of the company, and hopes to wrap up the auction by November.
A U.S. hedge fund is making a renewed call for changes at Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX), calling for the break up of the company and the addition of a mining engineer and geologist to its board. Mike Morris, principal and founder of Two Fish Management, says that there is no compelling reason for Barrick to own a worldwide conglomerate of gold mines.
Earlier in Asia, Japanâ€™s Nikkei 225 index closed 0.1 per cent higher after the Bank of Japan said following a policy meeting that the worldâ€™s No. 3 economy was â€œrecovering moderately.â€
Indiaâ€™s Sensex benchmark surged 1.7 per cent a day after the countryâ€™s new central bank head, Raghuram Rajan, announced a series of measures aimed at shoring up the rupee currency and strengthening the banking system.
Hong Kongâ€™s Hang Seng gained 1.2 per cent, South Koreaâ€™s Kospi advanced one per cent.
Mainland Chinese shares were mixed.
European bourses advanced as London's FTSE 100 index and the Paris CAC 40 were up 0.31 per cent while Frankfurt's DAX added 0.08 per cent.
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