Equities Take Baby Steps Higher

Wholesale, Retail Trade in Focus

Futures for Canada's main stock index inched higher on Friday, even as oil prices slipped after Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said a blockade on Libyan oil exports, which has been in place since January, would be lifted.

The TSX fell Thursday by 48.94 points to 16,246.72.

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.2 cents early Friday to 75.84 cents U.S.

September futures nicked up 0.1% Friday.

Ontario will clamp down on social gatherings to prevent "reckless careless people" from spreading the coronavirus at illegal parties, Premier Doug Ford said on Thursday.

Carolyn Wilkins, the senior deputy governor at the Bank of Canada who lost her bid for the top job just four months ago, will not seek a second term, the bank said on Thursday.

Shares of Nuvei Corp jumped more than 30% in their market debut on Thursday after the Canadian payment processing firm raised $700 million in the largest ever technology company offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In the economic docket, Statistics Canada reported that July’s wholesale trade increased for a third consecutive month in July as sales rose 4.3% to a record high $65.0 billion on the strength of higher sales in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories sub-sector.

Retail sales rose 0.6% to $52.9 billion in July, led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gas stations.

The agency goes on to say retail sales in June and July topped those of February, just prior to the pandemic.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange fell 4.13 points Thursday to 743.22.

ON WALLSTREET

Stock futures were mixed in early trading on Friday after another selloff on Wall Street led by major technology names.

Futures for Dow Jones Industrials lost 38 points, or 0.1%, early Friday, to 27,781.

Futures for the S&P 500 nicked higher 1.75 points, or 0.1%, at 3,352.75.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite gained 42.25 points, or 0.4%, to 11,117.50.

During Thursday’s regular trading session, the S&P 500 declined 0.8% for its biggest drop in a week. The Dow dipped 130 points, snapping a four-day winning streak. The tech-heavy NASDAQ fell 1.3% and briefly dipped back into correction territory, down 10% from its record high.

Some of the biggest technology stocks have suffered double-digit losses so far this month as investors rotated out of high-flying market leaders. Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple have all lost at least 10% this month.

Investors also remained on edge about the outlook on further coronavirus stimulus as well as the timing of a viable vaccine.

Republicans and Democrats are still struggling to agree on how much aid to continue to provide in a follow-up bill to the previous $2-trillion package. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he liked “the larger numbers,” urging GOP lawmakers to go for a bigger coronavirus stimulus, but his comments left Republicans skeptical.

Meanwhile, the path to a Covid-19 vaccine, which is critical to the economic recovery, still seems unclear. Health officials said vaccinations would be in limited quantities this year and not widely distributed for six to nine months.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 tacked on 0.2% Friday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index improved 0.5%.

Oil prices dropped 37 cents to $40.60 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices added five dollars to $1,954.90.