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Bay Street Seen Opening With Positive Bias

Canadian shares may open with a positive bias Thursday morning, tracking higher crude oil prices and gains in European markets.

However, lower bullion prices and worries about the surge in coronavirus cases in several countries across the world and its likely impact on the pace of economic recovery may weigh on sentiment and limit market's gains.

The Canadian market ended on a firm note on Wednesday, extending gains to a second day, thanks to strong gains in energy, healthcare and materials sections. The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended with a gain of 167.34 points or 0.84% at 20,110.05, after climbing to a high of 20,144.57.

Precision Drilling Corp. (PD.TO) reported second-quarter net loss of C$75.91 million or C$5.71 per share, wider than a net loss of C$48.87 million or C$3.56 per share a year ago. Revenue of C$201.36 million was 6 percent higher than last year's C$189.76 million. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report a loss of C$4.3 per share on revenues of C$207.51 million for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Asian stocks closed higher on Thursday as renewed optimism about economic and earnings growth outweighed worries over a spike in COVID-19 cases in the region and elsewhere around the world.

The major European markets, with the exception of the U.K. market, are up firmly in positive territory with investors shrugging off fears about the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus and picking up stocks on earnings hopes.

The European Central Bank (ECB) today pledged to keep interest rates at record lows for even longer to help sluggish inflation in the euro zone rise back to its elusive 2% target. The central bank said it would not hike rates until it sees inflation reach its 2% target "well ahead of the end of its projection horizon and durably".

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September are up $0.50 or 0.71% at $70.80 a barrel.

Gold futures are down $8.80 or 0.5% at $1,794.60 an ounce, while Silver futures are down $0.155 or 0.61% at $26.000 an ounce.

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