Trade Buoys Markets at Open

Couche-Tard, Rogers in Focus

Futures for equities in Canada’s largest centre rose on Thursday, as investors reacted to an uptick in domestic trade data for July, while promises of more global fiscal and monetary stimulus further bolstered sentiment.

The TSX gained 52.98 points to close Wednesday at 16,697.97.

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.4 cents Thursday to 76.25 cents U.S.

September futures eked up 0.1% Thursday.

Altice USA’s $10.3-billion offer on Wednesday to snap up the U.S. assets of Cogeco and sell the rest to Rogers Communications has been rejected by the Canadian cable company's top investor.

RBC raised the target price on Alimentation Couche-Tard to $54.00 from $53.00

RBC raised target price on Cogeco Communications to $117.00 from $109.00

RBC raised the target price to $88.00 from $75.00

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported this morning that Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world widened from $1.6 billion in June to $2.5 billion in July.

The agency went on to say imports increased 12.7% in July, while exports rose 11.1%.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faded 5.05 points to conclude Wednesday at 749.64.

ON WALLSTREET

Stock futures were slightly lower in early trading Thursday as investors paused in the wake of already-robust gains seen on Wall Street so far this week.

Futures for Dow Jones Industrials settled 47 points, or 0.2%, early Thursday, to 29,043.

Futures for the S&P 500 fell 18.25 points, or 0.5%, at 3,561.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite slumped 140 points, or 1.1%, to 12,271.50.

Facebook shares were down more than 1% in the pre-market after the company said it will ban political ads on its platform in the week before the presidential election. Apple slid 2.3% and Amazon dropped 1%.

The early morning trading action Thursday came on the heels of yet another strong day for stocks on Wednesday that saw the Dow climb 454 points, or 1.59%.

The rally lifted the blue-chip average above 29,000 for the first time since February and represented its single-best session since mid-July. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite clinched record closing levels.

The S&P 500 notched a similar advance of 1.54% as cyclical stocks — those that move in response to the health of the U.S. economy — outperformed. Materials stock DuPont popped 5%, while Verizon added 2.3% and Alaska Air climbed 3.3%.

Investors will pore over the latest look at jobless claims data on Thursday, when the U.S. Labor Department is set to release its weekly update on the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time.

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect first-time applications to have decelerated to 950,000 during the week ending Aug. 29. That would mark a reduction from the prior week’s print, which exceeded one million first-time applicants.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 soared 0.9% Thursday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.5%.

Oil prices slid 94 cents to $40.57 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices drooped $3.80 to $1,940.90.