(RTTNews.com) - The Canadian stock market got off to a positive start Thursday, but has since pared its early gains. Gold and financial stocks are providing support this morning, while energy stocks are losing ground.
Traders continue to monitor the NAFTA negotiations. Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her U.S. trade counterpart continue negotiate, aiming to find a compromise that would help finalize the NAFTA ahead of the October 1 deadline.
Markets in Europe are trading modestly to the upside Thursday. Bank and mining stocks are extending their gains from the previous session. Investors were also encouraged by the better than expected UK retail sales report.
Markets on Wall Street are gaining ground in early trade Thursday. Traders continue to shrug off concerns about the escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 26.10 points or 0.16 percent at 16,176.02.
On Wednesday, the index closed down by 46.12 points or 0.28 percent, at 16,149.92. The index scaled an intraday high of 16,229.99 and a low of 16,149.92.
The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.57 percent. Air Canada (AC.TO) is increasing 0.80 percent and Finning International (FTT.TO) is gaining 0.25 percent. Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is climbing 1.01 percent and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is rising 0.64 percent.
The Capped Materials Index is up 0.45 percent. Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is increasing 0.58 percent and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is gaining 0.71 percent.
The heavyweight Financial Index is increasing 0.38 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is higher by 0.12 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is advancing 0.39 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is gaining 0.78 percent and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is up 0.53 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is rising 0.35 percent.
The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 0.27 percent. BlackBerry (BB.TO) is rising 1.18 percent and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) is up 0.22 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is climbing 0.75 percent and Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is adding 0.03 percent.
The Gold Index is increasing 0.15 percent. Goldcorp (G.TO) is higher by 0.43 percent and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is gaining 0.22 percent.
The Energy Index is falling 0.38 percent. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is declining 0.88 percent and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is down 1.37 percent. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is decreasing 0.38 percent and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is dipping 0.16 percent. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is losing 0.55 percent and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is lower by 0.43 percent. Enbridge (ENB.TO) is weakening by 1.16 percent.
Magna International Inc. (MG.TO) is climbing 2.52 percent after it announced that its powertrain unit has signed an agreement to sell its global Fluid Pressure & Controls business to South Korea-based Hanon Systems, for approximately $1.23 billion.
On the economic front, UK retail sales grew unexpectedly in August, thanks to warm weather and real wage growth, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed Thursday.
Retail sales volume, including auto fuel, gained 0.3 percent month-on-month in August, slower than the 0.9 percent increase seen in July, but in contrast to the expected fall of 0.2 percent. This was the second consecutive rise in sales volume.
A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday unexpectedly showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dipped to their lowest level in nearly fifty years in the week ended September 15th. The Labor Department said jobless claims edged down to 201,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 204,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 210,000.
After reporting a significant slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the previous month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released a report on Thursday showing a bigger than expected rebound in the pace of growth in the month of September.
The Philly Fed said its index for current general activity jumped to 22.9 in September after tumbling to 11.9 in August, with a positive reading indication growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to climb to 17.0.
With sales growth in the Northeast and Midwest offset by downturns in the South and West, the National Association of Realtors released a report on Thursday showing existing home sales in the U.S. were unexpectedly flat in the month of August.
NAR said existing home sales came in at an annual rate of 5.34 million in August, unchanged from July. Economists had expected existing home sales to rise by 0.3 percent following the 0.7 percent drop in the previous month.
In commodities, crude oil futures for October delivery are up 0.01 or 0.01 percent at $71.13 a barrel.
Natural gas for October is down 0.001 or 0.03 percent at $2.907 per million btu.
Gold futures for December are up 4.00 or 0.33 percent at $1,212.30 an ounce.
Silver for December is up 0.055 or 0.39 percent at $14.335 an ounce.
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