Canadian stocks are poised for a flat open Friday as traders speculate that Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke will again use the central bank's gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to signal new stimulus measures. Riskier assets, including commodities were recovering from their recent lows ahead of the outcome of the key meeting, watched worldwide to get clues on the direction of the US economy.
Meanwhile, Canada reported a stronger-than-estimated second quarter economic growth.
U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher open.
On Thursday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index extended losses for a fourth session, dipping 123.13 points or 1.02 percent to 11,886.65.
The price of crude oil was moving higher Friday morning as traders await comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who is expected to speak at the central bank's gathering in Jackson Hole later today. Crude for October gained $0.79 to $95.41 a barrel.
The price of gold was steady near its four-month high Friday morning as the U.S. dollar was trading lower versus a basket of currencies ahead of a key speech from Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Gold for December added $5.00 to $1,662.10 an ounce.
In corporate news from Canada, National Bank (NA.TO) reported improved third quarter net income of C$360 million or C$2.14 per share compared to C$318 million or C$1.87 per share in the year ago quarter. Excluding specified items, net income was C$334 million or C$1.98 per share up from C$316 million or C$1.86 per share in the in the third quarter of 2011. Analysts were expecting the bank to report earnings of C$1.90 per share. The bank declared a dividend of $0.79 per common share.
Canadian Western Bank (CWB.TO) said that its long-serving President and CEO Larry Pollock has given up his role as President, but will maintain the title of CEO until he steps down on March 7, 2013
Communications services provider Mitel Networks Corp. (MNW.TO) reported a narrower first quarter net loss of $2.1 million or $0.04 per share, compared to a loss of $2.8 million or $0.05 per share in the prior year. Excluding items, the company's adjusted income for the quarter was $4.5 million or $0.08 per share, compared to $8.5 million or $0.15 per share in the year ago period. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.14 per share for the first quarter.
In economic news, Statistics Canada said real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.5 percent in the second quarter, inline with the pace of the two previous quarters. Business investment contributed the most to second-quarter GDP growth. Final domestic demand grew 0.4 percent. On a monthly basis, real GDP by industry advanced 0.2 percent in June. However, on an annualized rate real GDP expanded 1.8 percent in the second quarter, beating consensus estimates for a 1.6 percent growth.
Elsewhere, euro zone inflation accelerated to 2.6 percent in August from 2.4 percent in July, flash estimate issued by Eurostat showed. The rate was forecast to rise to 2.5 percent. The central bank aims to retain inflation rates below, but close to, 2 percent over the medium term. The final report for August is due on September 14.
Meanwhile, Germany's retail sales decreased from the previous month in July, defying economists' forecast for an increase, data released by the Federal Statistical Office revealed. Retail sales turnover decreased 0.9 percent month-on-month in July, reversing the previous month's 0.5 percent increase. Economists were looking for a 0.2 percent growth.
by RTT Staff Writer
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