Toronto stock market set to open flat; oil prices up and gold down | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Toronto stock market set to open flat; oil prices up and gold down

The Toronto Stock Exchange Broadcast Centre is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
June 20, 2014 - 5:35 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked to start off flat to slightly higher as the price of oil remained high Friday, following days of fighting between Iraqi soldiers and Islamic militants for control of the country's biggest refinery.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.03 to 92.43 cents US, while the country's annual inflation rate rose to 2.3 in May, up from 2.0 per cent the previous month, Statistics Canada said.

U.S. futures were up with the Dow Jones industrial futures up four points to 16,921.46, the Nasdaq up 1.80 points to 3,800.8, while the S&P was up 0.25 points to 1,959.48.

Markets are watching the situation in Iraq where that country's government was desperately trying to hold off the extremists at the Beiji oil refinery and by late Thursday the two sides held different parts of the refinery, which extends over several square kilometres of desert some 250 kilometres north of Baghdad.

The facility has a capacity of 320,000 barrels a day, according to Platts, accounting for a quarter of Iraq's refining capacity. While all its output is used domestically, a prolonged shutdown could force the energy producer to import oil products to keep up with the country's needs, cutting into global supplies.

In Ottawa, the Harper government will announce reforms to the controversial temporary foreign worker program.

One change almost certain to be in the measures is new fines for firms that abuse the system. Employment Minister Jason Kenney recently told MPs in the House he intended to "severely punish non-compliant employers and prevent distortions in certain regions or industries in the labour market." As well, Kenney will likely increase the cost to employers of bringing in temporary workers.

In corporate news, the company that owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden saw its fourth-quarter profit drop 35 per cent, dragged down by charges and costs tied to its strategic plan to reshape the restaurant company. Darden Restaurants said it earned US$86.5 million, or 65 cents per share. A year earlier the Orlando, Florida-based company earned $133.2 million, or $1.01 per share.

Also, the Dublin-based drugmaker Shire said Friday it has rejected an unsolicited 27 billion-pound ($46.2 billion) offer from AbbVie Inc., arguing that it fundamentally undervalues the company and its prospects.

On the commodity markets, the July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up two cents to US$106.45 a barrel.

August bullion was down $1.90 to US$1,312.2 an ounce, while July copper was up a penny at US$3.09 a pound.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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