Canadian stocks were little changed Thursday morning as traders await to see whether the U.S. Federal Reserve announces a new round of monetary easing measures at the end of its two-day meeting, later today. However, economists rule out an outright QE announcement as the Fed is generally not expected to use its politically controversial policy tool when the presidential election is round the corner.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index eased 9.08 points or 0.07 percent to 12,223.54, after adding just 20 points in the past two sessions.
The Diversified Materials Index slipped nearly 1 percent, with Teck Resources (TCK_B.TO) losing about 2 percent. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) and Inmet Mining (IMN.TO) were down around 1 percent each.
The price of crude oil was moving higher Thursday morning as traders await cues from the two-day policy meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Crude for October gained $1.26 to $98.27 a barrel.
In the oil patch, Petrominerales (PMG.TO) dived over 5 percent and Celtic Exploration (CLT.TO) lost over 2 percent.
The price of gold was firm near its seven-month high Thursday morning amid speculation the Federal Reserve will opt for further monetary easing measures to help lift the sagging U.S. economy. Gold for December edged up $1.50 to $1,735.20 an ounce.
Among gold stocks, Kirkland Lake Gold (KGI.TO) shed close to 5 percent. Detour Gold (DGC.TO), Allied Nevada Gold (ANV.TO), Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Goldcorp. (G.TO) were down around 1 percent each.
Information services provider MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA.TO) dived 7 percent after announcing that it received a request for additional information from the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with its proposed acquisition of Space Systems/Loral Inc.
Meanwhile, integrated tourist operator Transat A.T. Inc. (TRZ_A.TO) skyrocketed 19 percent after swinging to profit in third-quarter, reporting net income of C$9.4 million or C$0.25 per share compared to a loss of C$2.8 million or C$0.07 per share last year.
Empire Co. Ltd. (EMP_A.TO) posted improved first quarter net earnings of C$108.9 million or C$1.60 per share versus C$89.2 million or C$1.31 per share last year. The company declared a quarterly dividend of 24 cents per share. The stock was up nearly 2 percent.
In economic news Statistics Canada said the New Housing Price Index (NHPI) rose 0.1 percent in July, following a 0.2 percent increase in June. On a year-over-year basis, the NHPI rose 2.3 percent in the 12 months to July, following a similar year-over-year increase the previous month. The main contributor to the advance was the combined metropolitan regions of Toronto and Oshawa.
From the U.S, the Labor Department said that initial jobless claims rose to 382,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge up to 370,000 from the 365,000 originally reported for the previous week.
In a separate report, the department said its producer price index surged up by 1.7 percent in August following a 0.3 percent increase in July. Economists had expected the index to increase by 1.4 percent. Excluding the jump in energy prices as well as a notable increase in food prices, the core producer price index edged up by 0.2 percent in August after rising by 0.4 percent in July.
From the euro zone, the Swiss National Bank decided to leave the minimum exchange rate unchanged at CHF 1.20 per euro as expected by economists. The central bank also retained the target range for the three-month Libor rate at 0.0-0.25 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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