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Stocks Iffy at Outset on Economic Data

Equities in Canada’s largest centre were subdued at open on Thursday as gains in materials shares were offset by losses in healthcare shares, while investors assessed U.S. economic data and awaited Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell’s remarks later in the day.

The TSX Composite Index fought its way out of negative territory, adding 6.06 points to 19,442.04.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.06 cents at 74.13 cents U.S.

In company news, Pipestone Energy shareholders on Wednesday voted in favor of the proposed sale to privately held larger rival Strathcona Resources in an all-stock deal that would value the combined company at $8.6 billion. Pipestone shares shied away two cents to $2.27.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported the number of employees receiving pay and benefits from their employer—measured as “payroll employment” in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours—was little changed (+4,900) in July, following an increase of 65,900 (+0.4%) in June.


The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 1.93 points to 551.94.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower, as health-care sank 1%, health-care faded 0.6%, and gold sank 0.3%.

The five gainers were led by financials, up 0.4%, while materials and real-estate each eked up 0.2%.


Stocks rose on Thursday morning heading into month-end, as investors kept a close eye on a volatile Treasuries market.

The Dow Jones Industrials recovered 70.4 points to begin Thursday’s session at 33,620.67.

The S&P 500 index added 10.82 points to 4,285.33.

The NASDAQ index moved ahead 18.17 points to 13,111.02.

Information technology stocks were the biggest laggards in the S&P 500, with the sector last lower by 0.7%. Micron Technology slid more than 4% after offering weak earnings guidance for the current quarter. Key megacap tech shares like Microsoft, Apple and Amazon also declined.

Friday marks the end of what has been a tough trading month and quarter. The Dow is poised to end more than 3% lower on the month and more than 2% lower in the quarter. The S&P 500 is slated to finish the month down 5% and the quarter off by about 4%. The NASDAQ is on pace to finish the month off more than 6%, losing more than 5% on the quarter.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury fell back, raising yields to 4.63% from Wednesday’s 4.61%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.09 to $92.59 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gave up $1.30 to $1,889.60.

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