Stocks to Inch up at Open

Aurora, Kinder in Focus

Futures pointed to a higher opening for Canada's main stock index on Thursday, as oil prices gained after Iran said it had seized a foreign tanker smuggling fuel in the Gulf.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index weakened 18.21 points to close Wednesday at 16,484.21

The Canadian dollar weakened 0.07 cents to 76.54 cents U.S. early Thursday

September futures edged up 0.1% Thursday.

Aurora Cannabis Inc said it had secured a two-year contract to supply medical cannabis to the Italian government.

Credit Suisse raised the rating on Kinder Morgan Canada to neutral from underperform

CIBC cut the rating on Trican Well Service to neutral from outperform

RBC cut the rating on Vermilion Energy to sector perform from outperform

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported 441,300 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits in May, similar to the previous month.

Lower numbers in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island were offset by increases in Quebec and Ontario.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange grew 7.02 points Wednesday to 587.19

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday as investors were concerned about the latest batch of quarterly corporate reports.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials flopped 36 points, or 0.1%, to 27,195.

Futures for the S&P 500 gave up 1.75 points, or 0.1%, at 2,983.25

NASDAQ futures slid 11.75 points, or 0.2%, to 7,873.75

Netflix shares plunged more than 10% in the premarket after the streaming giant reported a surprise loss in U.S. subscriberscoupled with slower-than-expected international membership growth. Those metrics — which are key for Netflix — offset a better-than-expected earnings per share result for the previous quarter.

IBM shares, meanwhile, declined 0.8% after the company reported its fourth consecutive revenue decline. Declining sales from IBM’s IT division offset growth in its cloud business.

So far, more than 12% of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results this earnings season. Of those companies, nearly 84% have reported better-than-expected earnings.

The major indexes closed lower for a second day in a row on Wednesday after The Wall Street Journal reported that trade negotiations between the U.S. and China had faltered over restrictions on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that Huawei was not a sticking point in the negotiations, adding a call between U.S. and China trade officials was scheduled for later on Thursday.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 index faltered 2%, while in the Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.5%,

Oil prices added 23 cents to $57.01 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sifted off $1.80 to $1,405.70 U.S. an ounce.