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Toronto stock market expected to open lower; price of oil continues to rise

June 13, 2014 - 5:28 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked set to start lower with the price of oil up again on Friday, nearing US$107 a barrel as Iraq's insurgency fuelled concerns that crude supplies from OPEC's No. 2 producer could be hurt.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.97 to 92.09 cents US ahead of Statistics Canada releasing its monthly survey of manufacturing for April and Canada's international investment position for the first-quarter.

U.S. futures were mixed with the Dow Jones industrial futures down 17 points to 16,734.19, the Nasdaq up 1.50 points to 3,763.8 and the S&P 500 futures down two points to 1,930.11.

In Iraq, Islamic militants vowed to march on Baghdad after pushing deep into parts of the country's Sunni heartland previously controlled by U.S. forces. U.S. officials ruled out putting troops back on the ground. There is concern that the upheaval could throw the word's stable oil market out of balance. The Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries said this week it will maintain its current output of 30 million barrels a day.

In England, the pound jumped against the U.S. dollar to its highest level since 2009 after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney predicted an interest rate hike might come sooner than expected. Carney is the Bank of Canada's former governor.

The pound rose to $1.6960 on Friday from $1.6830 the day before after Carney said an interest rate rise above its record low of 0.5 per cent, "could happen sooner than markets currently expect." Carney's remarks late Thursday surprised economists, as the bank has suggested any rate rise would be gradual. Carney also warned of the threat of an overheating housing market.

On the corporate front, Montreal's Amaya Gaming Group Inc. (TSX:AYA) is buying the company that owns PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for US$4.9 billion in an all-cash deal.

Amaya says the transaction will create the world's largest publicly traded online gaming company as a result of its acquisition of the Oldford Group, parent company of the Rational Group Ltd., which owns and operates PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Online poker platforms PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are globally popular brands with more than 85 million registered players on desktop and mobile devices.

In the U.S., discount online company Priceline will buy restaurant reservation specialist OpenTable for $2.6 billion to expand its services.

Meanwhile, voters in Ontario looked past a slew of Liberal scandals, opting to elect Kathleen Wynne as premier of a majority Liberal government.

On the commodity markets, the July crude contract on the New York mercantile Exchange up 32 cents to US$106.85 a barrel.

August bullion was down 40 cents to US$1,273.6 an ounce, while July copper was up a penny to US$3.03 a pound.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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