Canadian, US stock markets regain footing after big drop

Markets steady themselves

U.S. stocks are pushing upward Thursday after better-than-expected reports on the economy helped stabilize Wall Street following its worst drop in more than four months.

Economists warn big challenges still lie ahead, though, and the S&P 500 is coming off a 3.5% tumble Wednesday on worries the worsening pandemic will drag down the economy and corporate profits again.

Within the S&P 500, a strong rebound for tech stocks more than made up for losses among health care companies.

Gains in the financial sector helped lead Canada's main stock index higher in late-morning trading after sinking to a more than three-month low on Wednesday, while U.S. stock markets also climbed.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 138.31 points at 15,724.88.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 113.35 points at 26,633.30. The S&P 500 index was up 31.88 points at 3,302.91, while the Nasdaq composite was up 153.27 points at 11,158.14.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.96 cents US compared with 75.18 cents US on Wednesday.

The December crude contract was down US$1.34 at US$36.05 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down three cents at US$3.26 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was down US$6.30 at US$1,872.90 an ounce and the December copper contract was up a penny at US$3.07 a pound.

Across the Atlantic, European stocks rose after the head of the European Central Bank said there's “little doubt” it will deliver more stimulus in December. They were also recovering from a sharp slide on Wednesday, when France and Germany announced new restrictions on businesses in hopes of slowing the accelerating spread of the virus.

Despite the relatively calm moves, caution continues to hang over the market. A measure of investors’ fear in the U.S. stock market touched its highest level since June before receding Thursday, and oil prices continued their sharp descent on worries about demand from a virus-weakened economy.

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