Flat Futures to Begin Thursday

Airboss, Metro in Picture

Futures for Canada's main stock index were slightly changed on Thursday as hopes of a large fiscal stimulus package under new U.S. President Joe Biden outweighed weakness in oil prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index ended Wednesday ahead 57.54 points to 18,014.91.

The Canadian dollar inched lower 0.01 cents to 79.18 cents U.S.

March futures gained less than 0.1% Thursday.

Canadian pension funds are seeking to boost their real estate investments, betting the slumping property market will recover as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and office workers and city dwellers return to downtown properties.

Cormark Securities cut the target price on Airboss of America to $24.00

National Bank of Canada cut the target price on Metro Inc. to $64.00 from $65.00

Scotiabank cut the target price on TCP Energy to $69.00 from $72.00

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported growth in new home prices slowed for the third consecutive month, rising 0.3% in December compared with November.

The agency also reports that despite the recent slowdown, new home prices were up 4.6% year over year in December.


The TSX Venture Exchange gained 14.67 points, or 1.6%, to close Wednesday at 946.15.


U.S. stock futures rose in early morning trading on Thursday a day after the major averages hit record highs on Inauguration Day.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial gained 54 points, or 0.2%, to 31,150.

Futures for the S&P 500 acquired 8.25 points, or 0.2%, at 3,853.25.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite picked up 58.5 points, or 0.4%, to 13,325.75.

Earnings season continues on Thursday with Baker Hughes, Union Pacific and Citrix reporting before the bell. Intel, IBM and CSX report after the closing bell on Thursday.

President Joe Biden released details of his COVID plan on his first full day in office, including 10 executive orders and his intent to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up protective equipment production.

Biden will seek to accelerate the rollout of vaccines by providing more local and state funding, creating more vaccination sites and launching a national education campaign.

U.S. equities rose to record highs on Wednesday as the latest batch of strong corporate earnings rolled in and as Biden was sworn in, ushering in hope that an improved vaccine rollout will ensure a smoother and faster reopening.

Major U.S. airline United dipped more than 2% in premarket trading after missing on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly earnings released Wednesday night. The airline warned sales would continue to suffer in the early part of 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

And key economic data was due at 8:30 a.m. ET. when the Labor Department will release last week’s jobless claims. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 925,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, down from the previous week’s 965,000.

Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president on Wednesday, succeeding former President Donald Trump. During an inaugural address in which he called on Americans to reject efforts to sow division and pledged to work for the voters who did not support him, Biden declared, "Democracy has prevailed."

Along with the COVID response plan released Thursday, investors are also watching eagerly if Biden can get his proposed $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief bill through Congress.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.8%, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.1%.

Oil prices retreated 27 cents to $53.04 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices dulled in price 70 cents to $1,835.80 U.S.