Markets at midday TSX rises with commodities


Canada’s main stock index gained on Wednesday as rising commodity prices helped energy and gold mining stocks push higher while railway stocks lagged.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd declined 0.5 per cent to $200.03 after the country’s No. 2 railroad operator reported a 9.1-per-cent drop in quarterly revenue, due mainly to a delayed grain harvest and lower crude oil volumes.

Its rival Canadian National declined 0.03 per cent to $87.78, and the industrials fell 0.3 per cent overall.

The most influential gainers on the index included Goldcorp Inc, which rose 1.9 per cent to $19.86, and Barrick Gold Corp, up 3.6 per cent to $22.25.

Gold prices rose and the U.S. dollar weakened amid uncertainty around the timing of a U.S. interest rate increase.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.5 per cent.

At 11:43 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 83.09 points, or 0.56 per cent, at 14,835.34.

Canada’s central bank is expected to hold interest rates steady in a rate decision due at 10 a.m. that also will include an update to the Bank of Canada’s economic forecasts.

The energy group climbed 1.8 per cent, as oil prices were boosted by evidence of declining production in China and falling U.S. inventories, while an upbeat OPEC statement on its planned output cut also supported the market.

Suncor Energy Inc rose 1.7 per cent to $38.60 and Encana Corp added 3.4 per cent to $14.83.

A rise in energy and financial stocks pushed Wall Street higher on Wednesday, but a drop in consumer staples and Intel limited gains, especially on the Nasdaq.

Intel tumbled nearly 6 per cent and was the biggest drag on all three indexes, after the chipmaker’s disappointing current-quarter revenue forecast. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index dipped 0.8 percent.

Oil prices surged more than 2 per cent after a report showed an unexpected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.

The energy sector jumped 1.64 per cent, the most in three weeks, also boosted by a 5.2-per-cent rise in Halliburton following its surprise quarterly profit.

Morgan Stanley inched up 0.2 per cent after its results rounded off a strong quarter for big U.S. banks.

The financial sector has gained 1 per cent since Thursday, a day before the banks started reporting, while the KBW bank index is up 2.1 per cent.

Through Tuesday, earnings from S&P 500 companies had largely beaten market expectations, putting them on track to post profit growth for the first time in five quarters. Analysts now estimate earnings increased 0.2 percent in the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“We would see the third quarter as the bottoming out of the earnings recession that we have been experiencing for the last year or so,” said Tracy Maeter, global investment specialist, J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Philadelphia. “But it’s likely to be a little bit noisy with a lot of dispersion across the sectors.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 76.12 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 18,238.06.

The S&P 500 was up 6.62 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 2,146.22 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.83 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 5,247.67.

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer staples’ 0.6-per-cent drop the steepest.

The Federal Reserve is due to release its Beige Book at about 2:00 p.m. ET, giving anecdotal commentary on the health of the U.S. economy.

The third and final U.S. presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton starts later in the evening. The stock market had gained on both days after the previous two debates, which were perceived to be won by Clinton.

“The noise in the marketplace around politics can drive stocks in the short term, but in terms of the underlying influence … that’s going to be driven more by the economy and the profitability of companies,” Maeter said.

Oil prices rose about 2 per cent on Wednesday after the U.S. government reported a surprising drop in domestic crude stockpiles, versus analysts expectations for a build.

Brent crude was up $1.12, or 2 per cent, at $52.80 per barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $1.16, or 2.3 per cent, to $51.45.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said U.S. crude stocks fell by 5.2 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 14.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 2.7 million-barrel build.

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