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Canadian Stocks Are Little Changed Ahead Of Fed Decision - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market has not strayed far from the flat line in either direction Thursday morning. The market has been on a winning streak since the start of the trading week, but traders have turned cautious ahead of today's Fed announcement.

Markets on Wall Street are down slightly in early trade Thursday. The Federal Reserve will make its monetary policy announcement this afternoon. The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the accompanying statement may shed additional light on the anticipated rate hike in December.

The majority of the European markets are trading in the red Thursday. Traders appear reluctant to make any major moved ahead of today's Fed announcement.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is down 4.94 points or 0.03 percent at 15,364.49.

On Wednesday, the index closed up by 76.72 points or 0.50 percent, at 15,369.43. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,392.00 and a low of 15,293.25.

The Capped Industrials Index is down 0.64 percent. Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is lower by 0.65 percent and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is falling 0.26 percent. WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) is surrendering 0.21 percent and Air Canada (AC.TO) is declining 0.56 percent.

Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) is sinking 12.23 percent after it reported that its third-quarter net income was $149 million or $0.04 per share, compared to a loss of $100 million or $0.04 per share in the same quarter last year. Bombardier also announced the sale of a number of non-core assets. It will reduce about 5,000 positions across the organization over the next 12 to 18 months.

Canadian Tire (CTC-A.TO) is surging 9.40 percent after it announced an increase of $0.55 or 15.3% in the annual dividend from $3.60 to $4.15 per share on each Class A non-voting and common share. The company said its consolidated adjusted normalized EBITDA increased by 14.8% in the third quarter.

The Energy Index is falling 0.35 percent. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is decreasing 0.46 percent and Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) is losing 0.39 percent. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is weakening by 0.83 percent and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is surrendering 0.17 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 0.36 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is higher by 0.37 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is increasing 0.35 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is gaining 0.27 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is up 0.24 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is higher by 0.05 percent and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is adding 0.26 percent.

Magna International Inc. (MG.TO) is advancing 5.16 percent after it lowered its full year earnings guidance. The company now expects full-year adjusted net income attributable to company in a range of $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion, on total sales between $40.3 billion and $41.4 billion, as against its earlier projection of adjusted net income in the range of $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion on net sales between $40.3 billion and $42.5 billion.

On the economic front, a report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. this morning showed that Canadian housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 205,925 units in October. Economists had expected a rate of 200,000 units.

China's exports and imports increased more-than-expected in October as trade remained resilient, despite escalating trade disputes with the U.S.

Exports grew 15.6 percent annually, the General Administration of Customs reported Thursday. Economists had forecast an increase of 11.7 percent, after a 14.5 percent rise in September.

At the same time, total imports surged 21.4 percent, which was faster than the forecast of 14.7 percent and September's 14.3 percent rise.

As a result, the trade surplus came in at $34 billion versus the expected level of $35.1 billion.

Germany's exports and imports declined unexpectedly in September, official data revealed Thursday.

Exports dropped 0.8 percent month-on-month, reversing a 0.1 percent rise in August. At the same time, imports slid 0.4 percent following August's 2.4 percent decrease.

Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent rise in exports and a 0.8 percent increase in imports.

The trade surplus declined to a seasonally adjusted EUR 17.6 billion from EUR 18.2 billion in the previous month.

France's merchandise trade deficit modestly narrowed in September from the previous month, figures from the French Customs Office showed on Thursday. The trade deficit fell to EUR 5.663 billion from EUR 5.701 billion in August. Economists had forecast a shortfall of EUR 5.83 billion. The deficit was EUR 4.884 billion a year ago.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits showed a slight decrease in the week ended November 3rd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 214,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level of 215,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 213,000 from the 214,000 originally reported for the previous week.

In commodities, crude oil futures for December delivery are down 0.27 or 0.44 percent at $61.40 a barrel.

Natural gas for December is down 0.001 or 0.03 percent at $3.554 per million btu.

Gold futures for December are down 2.70 or 0.22 percent at $1,226.00 an ounce.

Silver for December is down 0.129 or 0.89 percent at $14.44 an ounce.

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