Futures Edge up Friday

Grocers in Focus

Canada's stock futures edged higher on Friday, in line with global stock markets, as investors looked to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech to find out whether the U.S. central bank will deliver more rate cuts this year.

The S&P/TSX Composite dropped 55.77 points to conclude Thursday at 16,253.46

The Canadian dollar subtracted 0.15 to 75.07 cents U.S. early Friday

September futures nosed up 0.1% Friday.

Desjardins raised the rating on Alimentation Couche-Tard to buy from hold; target price to $88.00 from $87.00

BMO raised the target price Empire Company to $42.00 from $36.00

Analysts say Canadian house prices will be flat this year, but will pick up in 2020, driven by lower mortgage rates and solid domestic economic conditions.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said retail sales were essentially unchanged in June. Stronger sales across most sub-sectors were offset by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations. Excluding sales in these two sub-sectors, monthly retail sales advanced 1.7%

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange eked higher 2.2 points Thursday to 578.10

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures moved progressively lower Friday morning, as market participants awaited a key speech from the Federal Reserve’s top official.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials slid 78 points, or 0.3%, to 26,147.

Futures for the S&P 500 dropped 9.25 points, or 0.3%, at 2,913

NASDAQ futures faded 38.25 points, or 0.4%, to 7,678

Foot Locker and Hibbett Sports are among the firms reporting earnings Friday.

Futures tumbled on concern about possible China retaliation in the trade war. Overnight, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that the country has no choice but to take countermeasures. Later in the session, the editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times tweeted that retaliatory tariffs were coming soon.

But the market is largely focusing on the U.S. central bank’s annual Jackson Hole symposium, with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell expected to address an audience of policymakers and economists at 10:00 a.m. ET.

As of Friday morning, Fed funds futures were pricing a likelihood of almost 90% for a 25-basis-point rate cut at the September meeting, and between one or two further quarter-point rate cuts between then and the end of the year.

On the data front, new home sales for July will be released at around 10:00 a.m. ET.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 gathered 0.4% Friday, while in the Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 0.5%

Oil prices dipped $1.24 to $54.11 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $3.30 to $1,511.80 U.S. an ounce.