Futures Flat at Open

AGF, First Quantum in Focus

Canada's main stock index futures rose slightly on Thursday, as dovish comments by the Bank of Canada at its policy announcement offset lower oil prices.

The TSX Composite Index gained 27.58 points to conclude Wednesday’s session at 17,599.06

The Canadian dollar deleted 0.01 cents to 76 cents U.S.

March futures inched up 0.1% early Thursday.

RBC raised the price target on AGF Management to $7.50 from $7.00

CIBC raised the target price on First Quantum Minerals to $18.00 from $14.00

CIBC raised the rating on Hudbay Minerals to outperform from neutral

RBC raised the rating on Maple Leaf Foods to outperform from sector perform

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada told us that in November, 451,000 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits, virtually unchanged from the previous month.

Increases in numbers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nova Scotia were offset by slight declines in other provinces.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange moved higher 2.9 points Wednesday to 585.36

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday as investors digested the latest batch of corporate earnings along with worries over the deadly coronavirus spreading.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials dropped 79 points, or 0.3%, early Thursday to 29,061.

Futures for the S&P 500 faded six points, or 0.2%, at 3,313.75.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite fell eight points, or 0.1%, to 9,187.75.

Comcast and Travelers both reported better-than-expected quarterly figures. Comcast shares climbed more than 3% in the pre-market, but Travelers’ stock dipped 2%.

More than 12% of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings. Of those companies, about 70% have beaten analyst expectations.

But sentiment was kept in check as the spread of the China coronavirus has placed renewed downward pressure on global equity markets, with the death toll rising to 17 and the World Health Organization set to reconvene Thursday to decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

On Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases of the new strain of coronavirus, which originated in China’s Wuhan city and has now been detected throughout Asia and as far away as the U.S., reached 571.

On the data front, initial and continuing jobless claims figures for January were due this morning.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 sank 1% Thursday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index lost 1.5%

Oil prices slid $1.06 to $55.68 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices retreated $1.50 to $1,555.20 U.S. an ounce.