Bay Street May Open Slightly Higher

Slightly higher U.S. and Canadian futures point to a positive start for the Canadian market Thursday morning. However, sluggish commodity prices and concerns about inflation and rate hikes are likely to render the mood cautious.

Data on Canadian wholesale sales and manufacturing sales for the month of May will be out at 8:30 AM ET.

Data released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday showed Canada's annual inflation quickened to 7.7% in May of 2022, the highest since January 1983 and above market expectations of 7.4%. The Consumer Price Index in Canada increased 1.4% in May of 2022 over the previous month.

The Canadian market ended sharply lower on Wednesday, weighed down by sharp losses in energy and materials sections. The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which plunged to a low of 18,871.70, ended the session with a loss of 253.25 points or 1.32% at 19,004.04.

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said he believed the U.S. economy is strong enough to handle coming interest rate hikes but acknowledged that a recession could happen.

Chinese stocks rose sharply, led by electric vehicle shares, on reports that Beijing is considering extending tax exemptions. Additionally, a top-level meeting on Wednesday approved a plan for the healthy development of China's large payment firms and fintech sector.

European stocks have come off early lows and are trading mixed amid cautious moves by investors as recession fears continue to weigh on sentiment.

In commodities trading, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures are up marginally at $106.32 a barrel.

Gold futures are down $6.10 or 0.3% at $1,832.30 an ounce, while Silver futures are down $0.321 or 1.5% at $21.095 an ounce.

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