Positive Futures as First Week of December Ends

Dollarama, Mullen Group in Focus

Futures for equities in Canada’s largest market rose on Friday as oil prices jumped after key producers agreed to continue the bulk of existing supply curbs while gold gained on hopes for a fresh U.S. stimulus package.

The TSX gained 39.81 points to conclude Thursday at 17,398.02

The Canadian dollar eked up 0.05 cents Friday to 77.78 cents U.S.

December futures increased 0.3% Friday.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday the economic impact of the second wave of COVID-19 in Canada has been deeper than expected and the government must be agile to ensure it can respond to gaps in supports should any emerge.

Canaccord Genuity raised the target price on Dollarama to $50.00 from $46.00.

CIBC initiated coverage on Mullen Group with an outperform rating

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported the economy created 62,000 jobs during November, following an increase of 84,000 (+0.5%) in October. The numbers drove the unemployment rate down 0.4 percentage points last month to 8.5% in November.

In October, Canada's merchandise exports increased 2.2% and imports rose by 1.9%. Thus, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world was virtually unchanged at $3.8 billion in October.

Economists have predicted the Bank of Canada will not increase its asset-purchase programme anytime soon, and the country's gross domestic product should reach pre-COVID-19 levels within two years.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 3.15 points to finish Thursday at 769.32.

ON WALLSTREET

Stock futures rose early Friday as investors awaited a key November jobs report to gauge the pace of labour market recovery in the face of a worsening pandemic.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials Index jumped 116 points, or 0.4%, at 30,048.

Futures for the S&P 500 gained 10.75 points, or 0.3%, at 3,667.25.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite flew 31 points, or 0.3%, to 12,493.25.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 backed off 0.2% Friday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 0.4%.

The rate of job gains likely slowed in November due to the spike in new coronavirus cases that led to fresh lockdown restrictions. The U.S. economy is expected to have added 440,000 jobs, compared 638,000 new payrolls added in October, according to Dow Jones. The unemployment rate is forecast to drop to 6.7% from 6.9%.

The latest weekly jobless claims hit a pandemic-era low, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 712,000 last week, compared with 787,000 a week earlier and the Dow Jones estimate of 780,000. Still, the claims remained well above the pre-pandemic record.

On Thursday, the stock market was hit by a report suggesting troubles with Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine rollout. Major averages swiftly fell to their session lows after Dow Jones reported said Pfizer expects to ship half of the Covid-19 vaccines it originally planned for this year due to supply-chain problems.

Still, Pfizer and BioNtech are on track to roll out 1.3 billion vaccines in 2021 and the 50 million dose shortfall this year will be covered as production ramps up, the report said.

Elsewhere, investors closely monitored progress toward a stimulus deal as lawmakers make a strong push to break a stalemate over how to boost an economy that continues to be hurt by the pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on the phone Thursday for the first time since at least the presidential election. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backed a bipartisan $908 billion stimulus package, while McConnell released his own roughly $500-billion plan.

Oil prices picked up 84 cents to $46.12 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices brightened $4.10 to $1,845.20 U.S.