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Bay Street Likely To Open With Positive Bias

Canadian shares may open with a positive bias on Thursday, reacting to encouraging quarterly earnings news from some top name companies.

Lower gold prices may weigh on materials stocks and limit market's upside.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada showed average weekly earnings in Canada increased 6.4% in December 2020 over the same month in the previous year.

The Canadian stock market ended notably higher on Wednesday despite suffering a setback early on in the session. The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which slipped to 18,241.87 in early trades, losing nearly 90 points in the process, ended the session with a gain of 154.44 points or 0.84% at 18,484.53. The index touched a high of 18,548.87.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) reported first-quarter net income of C$1.63 billion or C$3.55 per share, up 34% from C$1.21 billion or C$2.63 per share in the same period last year. Adjusted net income came in at C$1.64 billion or C$3.58 per share, compared to C$1.48 billion or C$3.24 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI.TO) reported fourth-quarter profit of $25.4 million, up from $17.5 million a year ago. Earnings per share was 20 cents in the fourth quarter, up from 14 cents a year earlier.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. (L.TO) reported fourth-quarter net income of $345 million or 98 cents per diluted share for the 13-week period ended Jan. 2, compared with a profit of $254 million or 70 cents per diluted share for the 12-week period ended Dec. 28, 2019.

Asian stocks rallied on Thursday as bond yields eased and dovish comments by U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell soothed worries around inflation and interest rates. In his second day of testimony before Congress, Powell said the Fed plans to leave interest rates unchanged for a long time to come.

European stocks are off early highs with investors making cautious moves despite slighly easning concerns about inflation after Powell's dovish testimony on Wednesday.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April are up $0.08 or 0.13% at $63.30 a barrel.

Gold futures for declining $13.10 or 0.73% at $1,784.80 an ounce, while Silver futures are rising $0.111 or 0.4% at $27.970 an ounce.

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