TSX to head lower, traders look for reassurance on U.S. economic health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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TSX to head lower, traders look for reassurance on U.S. economic health

The Toronto Stock Exchange Broadcast Centre is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
June 27, 2014 - 5:22 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked set for a lower open, capping a losing week as traders took profits amid a new round of concerns about the U.S. economy.

The Canadian dollar was off a slight 0.02 of a cent to 93.5 cents US.

New York futures were negative as U.S. traders looked to consumer sentiment data coming out later in the morning.

The Dow Jones industrial futures lost 29 points to 16,733, the Nasdaq futures were down six points to 3,811.5 while the S&P 500 futures slipped 4.5 points to 1,944.25.

Traders looked for the University of Michigan's widely watched consumer sentiment index to rise to 81.9 from a flash estimate of 81.2.

That could help reassure investors rattled during this week by a much greater than expected U.S. gross domestic product contraction of 2.9 per cent, almost a full point higher than expected. Markets had initially shrugged off the data on expectations the American economy would jump ahead in the second quarter as the deterioration was largely blamed on severe winter weather. But economic concerns surfaced Thursday as data showed a worse than expected reading on consumer spending and consumption.

The report also sparked concerns about whether the economy can take the strain of higher interest rates, particularly after St. Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard said markets don’t realize how close the central bank is to reaching its targets of low unemployment and stable prices. That prompted speculation the Fed could hike as soon as the first quarter of 2015.

Traders are looking ahead to key economic data next week for reassurance that the economy is indeed on track for a strong second quarter, including the June reading on the manufacturing sector from the Institute for Supply Management and the release Thursday of the U.S. government's employment report for June.

It is also hoped that the flood of corporate earnings reports covering the April-June period will provide reassurance that the economy is improving.

Commodity prices were mixed with August crude unchanged at US$105.84 a barrel. Crude prices have declined this week in the wake of the weaker than expected U.S. consumer data and expectations that the sectarian fighting in Iraq won‘t spread to the oil-producing south.

September copper was unchanged at US$3.17 a pound while August bullion dipped 90 cents to US$1,316.10 an ounce.

In corporate news, energy producer Encana (TSX:ECA) has reached an agreement with Alberta-based Jupiter Resources to sell its Bighorn properties in the province for about US$1.8 billion. Encana has sold a number of its assets in recent months and is focusing on a half-dozen core growth areas in specific regions.

First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) has temporarily halted construction activity at its Cobre Panama project due to an illegal work stoppage by some members of its construction workforce. It said the dispute centres around the work roster.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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