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Bay Street Likely To See Cautious Start

Canadian shares may open with a negative bias Thursday morning due to weak crude oil and bullion prices.

The mood is likely to remain cautious with investors awaiting next week's Federal Reserve meeting for more clues on tapering of its bond-buying programs.

Data on private sector employment for the month of August, and a final reading on wholesale sales in the month of July are due at 8:30 AM ET.

Data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation showed housing starts in Canada decreased to 260,200 units in August from 270,700 units in July.

The Canadian market ended on a firm note on Wednesday, led by strong gains in the energy sector as crude oil prices rose sharply after data showed a drop in crude inventories last week. The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up by 140.54 points or 0.68% at 20,693.79.

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Thursday, as fears over China Evergrande Group's financial woes and the announcement of more government scrutiny of Macau casinos dented sentiment.

European stocks are higher Thursday afternoon, lifted by data showing the euro area trade surplus increased in July on higher shipments.

According to the first estimate from Eurostat, the trade surplus increased to a seasonally adjusted EUR 13.4 billion from EUR 11.9 billion in June. Exports increased 1% month-on-month, while imports grew only 0.3%. On an unadjusted basis, exports of goods registered an annual growth of 11.4% and imports posted 17.1% expansion.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October are down $0.21 or 0.28% at $72.40 a barrel.

Gold futures are down $23.70 or 1.3% at $1,771.10 an ounce, while Silver futures are lower by $0.476 or 2% at $23.325 an ounce.

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