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Bay Street Likely To Open Higher

Canadian shares may move higher Thursday morning, riding on gold's advance and the European Central Bank's announcement of additional stimulus to revive euro area economic growth.

Weak oil prices may hurt energy stocks, but the Trump administration's decision to defer implementation of new tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods may aid sentiment.

In economic news from Canada, new home prices dropped 0.1% for the second consecutive month in June 2019. Markets had expected prices to remain unchanged.

On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 73.80 points, or 0.45%, at 16,611.14, not far from an all-time high of 16,672.71 recorded on 23 April 2019.

In company news, Hudson's Bay (HUD.TO) reported a loss of $984 million for the second quarter, compared with a loss of $280 million in the year-ago quarter. Loss per share was $5.35 in the second quarter, as against $1.45 per share a year ago.

Empire Co. (EMP.A.TO) announced it posted a profit of $130.6 million in the first quarter of this financial year, up from a profit of $95.6 million in the same quarter last year.

Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) called on Canada's energy regulator yesterday to ignore calls from some shippers and avoid intervening in the company's proposal to revamp contracts on its Mainline network.

Asian markets ended on a mixed note on Thursday, with investors continuing to make cautious moves ahead of the ECB's policy decision. Investors were also looking ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week.

Slightly easing worries about trade war after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a short delay to scheduled tariff hikes on Chinese goods supported the markets a bit.

European markets were mostly higher. The ECB today slashed the deposit rate by 10 basis points to -0.5% and left the marginal lending rate unchanged at 0.25%. The bank also announced a host of stimulus measures, as expected, to boost the euro area economy.

"The Governing Council now expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2% within its projection horizon, and such convergence has been consistently reflected in underlying inflation dynamics," the ECB said.

In commodities, crude oil futures for October were down $0.81, or 1.58%, at $54.94 a barrel.

Gold futures for December were rising $21.20, or 1.5%, at $1,524.40 an ounce.

Silver futures for December were up $0.305, or 1.7%, at $18.475 an ounce, while Copper futures for December were rising $0.0325, or 1.25%, at $2.6470 per pound.

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