TSX to open slightly higher, traders look for clues on further Fed tapering - InfoNews

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TSX to open slightly higher, traders look for clues on further Fed tapering

January 08, 2014 - 8:26 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market appeared set to start Wednesday trading slightly higher as investors looked ahead to the afternoon release of the minutes from last month's U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.

The Canadian dollar continued to plumb multi-year depths, down another 0.32 of a cent to 92.51 cents US after falling over a cent Tuesday to its lowest close since late 2009.

U.S. futures were lower as investors hope to find some clarity on just how quickly the Fed plans to end its quantitative easing program, which has involved US$85 billion of monthly bond purchases. The central bank moved at the December meeting to start cutting those purchases by $10 billion.

"The Minutes will be scoured for answers to key questions, (such as)will the taper pace continue at $10 billion per meeting, thus ending QE by Q4, and what will it take to speed up or slow down the process," said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Michael Gregory.

"However, we doubt we'll be able to cull definite answers from the minutes, and are looking only for clues."

The Dow Jones industrial futures were down 23 points to 16,431, the Nasdaq futures slipped 0.5 of a point to 3,548.3 and the S&P 500 futures declined 1.5 points to 1,829.5.

The Fed said at the December meeting that further cuts in asset purchases were dependent on economic performance so traders are especially interested to see how job creation shaped up last month.

The government releases its non-farm payrolls report on Friday and expectations are that the economy cranked out about 195,000 jobs in December.

Two days ahead of that data, payroll firm ADP reported that the American private sector created 238,000 jobs during December.

Canadian jobs data for December is also released Friday.

On the commodity markets, the February crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was 26 cents lower to US$93.93 a barrel.

March copper rose a cent to US$3.37 a pound while February bullion slipped $1.60 to US$1,228 an ounce.

In corporate news, Hanfeng Evergreen Inc. (TSX:HF) says a planned going-private transaction has been called off and it’s looking at other strategic options. The Chinese fertilizer company, which lists its stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange, has terminated an arrangement with Xinduo Yu, who had been attempting to buy up the Hanfeng traded shares he didn’t already own.

European markets were lacklustre despite data showing a stabilization in unemployment and the biggest increase in monthly retail sales in 12 years.

Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said the eurozone’s unemployment rate held steady in November at a record 12.1 per cent for the eighth month running.

The agency also said retail sales during the month spiked by 1.4 per cent, far greater than the 0.3 per cent rise that had been expected.

The increase was the highest monthly gain since November 2001 and suggests households may finally be thinking that the region’s debt crisis is past its worst and that the recovery has legs.

London's FTSE 100 index was off 0.3 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX dipped 0.07 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 lost 0.15 per cent.

Earlier, Asian stocks were mostly higher. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.9 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.3 per cent.

China’s Shanghai Composite lost early gains, closing 0.2 per cent lower.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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