The TSX is off to a stronger start, taking its cue from some decent gains in overseas markets this morning as U.S. markets stay closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. RIM is a notable gainer, rising more than 10 per cent.
In early trading, the S&P TSX index is up 66 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 12,166. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 is up 0.6 per cent, Germany's DAX index is up 0.8 per cent and France's CAC 40 index is up 0.39 per cent.
The positive tone is largely thanks to the release of Chinese factory figures overnight that provided further confirmation its economy is starting to pick up the pace. HSBC's preliminary manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index rose to 50.4, the first time in 13 months the index came in above 50 points, the threshold that signifies expansion.
The data are especially encouraging for copper and Canadian resource stocks, which are heavily influenced by the demand picture in China. Electronically traded copper futures in New York are up 0.3 per cent at $3.52 (U.S.), crude oil futures are up 0.06 per cent, and gold is up 0.18 per cent at $1,731.30. The materials sector on the TSX is up 0.47 per cent, one of the top gainers.
A similar reading of both manufacturing and services in the 17-member euro zone this morning is garnering less attention than China's. It showed yet another contraction, at 45.8, little changed from October.
Traders again will be keeping a close eye on the latest developments in the debt crisis in that part of the world. Leaders in Europe are holding budget talks today and negotiations won't be easy on a proposed 1.033 trillion-euro package. Talks on the seven-year budget for the 27-country European Union pit several wealthy member states against those seeking more aid spending.
Volumes at the TSX will undoubtedly be thinner than usual today, since the U.S. market is closed. It will reopen Friday but only for a half day.
Even without the help of the U.S., Research In Motion Ltd. is posting strong gains today on the TSX, opening up 11.7 per cent at $11.43. That's its highest level since late June and comes after National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson hiked his target on RIM shares this morning to $15 (U.S.) from $12. He argues there's more money to be had in advance of the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 on Jan. 30.
He is the second analyst this week to boost his target, following a similar move by Peter Misek of Jefferies & Co., who doubled his to $10, saying he's seeing better-than-expected support from carriers.