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Stocks Hold Tight Ahead of BoC Meeting



Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Wednesday, as a weakness in commodity-linked stocks offset gains in technology stocks, as markets awaited minutes from the Bank of Canada’s last policy meeting for cues on its interest rate path.

The TSX Composite remained in the red 16.26 points to move into noon hour EST Wednesday at 20,941.48.

The Canadian dollar eked up 0.09 cents at 74.21 cents U.S.

The Bank of Canada which left its key overnight interest rate unchanged at its last policy decision on Jan. 24, has however indicated that its focus was shifting to when to cut rates. The minutes of that meeting will be released at 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

In corporate news, heavy machinery provider Finning International slipped $3.57, or 9%, to $36.15, and automation solutions provider ATS Corporation lost $1.66, or 2.8%, to $57,27, after their fourth-quarter revenue figures missed analysts’ estimates.

On the economic board, Statistics Canada reported in December, Canada’s merchandise exports decreased 1.9%, while imports edged up 0.2%. As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade balance went from a surplus of $1.1 billion in November to a deficit of $312 million in December.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange slid 2.56 points to 545.60.

All but three of the 12 subgroups were lower midday, with gold and materials each lower by 0.8%, while energy slid 0.6%.

The three gainers were information technology, up 1.4%, industrials, ahead 0.3%, and real-estate, nosing up 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 rose Wednesday and edged closer to the 5,000 level for the first time as investors parsed through another slate of quarterly results and headed into the back half of the earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 167.24 points to 38,688.60.

The S&P 500 index jumped 37.87 points to 4,992.10.

The NASDAQ index popped 127.53 points to 15,736.53.

Investors turned their attention to a fresh batch of quarterly results. Snap plunged nearly 35% on a revenue miss and weak guidance, while automaker Ford gained 4.7% after beating Wall Street’s fourth-quarter estimates and issuing higher-than-expected guidance.

Enphase Energy popped 16% after the solar company said its inventory glut may be approaching a bottom. The broader solar sector rose in sympathy, with Solaredge Technologies surging 11%.

A strong earnings season, coupled with expectations for an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, has been a source of strength on Wall Street. Much of the earnings upside’s been driven by megacap technology and artificial intelligence-focused names, a phenomenon that’s also contributed to narrow market breadth.

Results are also expected from Walt Disney, PayPal and Arm Holdings after the bell.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury settled, raising yields 4.12% from Tuesday’s 4.09%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices were raised 18 cents to $73.49 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices took on $2.80 to $2,054.20.



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