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Before the Bell: TSX set to decline as oil prices drop

The Before the Bell report is compiled by editors of The Globe and Mail and is updated throughout the morning to reflect latest developments. Colin Cieszynski, Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Market Technician, is chief market strategist with CMC Markets.

With the exception of Hong Kong, which rose 0.8 per cent on reports China may scrap plans to being in a national property tax, world stock markets and crude oil are trading lower to start the week. WTI crude is down 1.7 per cent reversing Friday's bounce and then some. U.S. index futures are down 0.1 per cent, the FTSE is down 0.2 per cent and the Dax is down 0.4 per cent. Currency markets are steady with gold up 0.3 per cent.

This week is lighter for economic news and heavier on meetings and potential‎ political developments. Over the weekend, friction from the Trump-Merkel summit continued with the U.S. still unhappy about Germany's low military spending and the cost it pays to defend Germany. At the G20 summit, a commitment to battle protectionism was dropped. while a commitment to avoid competitive currency devaluation was maintained.

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Today, Eurogroup finance ministers meet with no agreement with Greece on reforms in sight. ‎Later today, France's presidential candidates debate for the first time with Marine LePen and Emmanuel Macron tied at 26 per cent each in the latest poll and both pulling away from the rest of the field.

In the UK, Brexit remains in focus with the government preparing to trigger Article 50, perhaps around the coming weekend's EU summit. PM Theresa May is expected to tour devolved regions to promote Brexit this week. There also has been talk of a 10-year interim deal, but it's still all early speculation.

In the U.S. today, the main focus is on Republicans trying to muster up enough support within their own party to pass the Obamacare replacement bill, and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. ‎Markets may focus more on this week's resumption of Fed speakers. If they try to pull back the dovish reaction to last week's statement and dot plot, we could see a reaction in the dollar, stocks and other currencies.

MARKET DATA:

Futures (as of about 7:30 a.m. ET)

Dow -0.03 per cent; S&P 500 -0.12 per cent; Nasdaq: -0.02 per cent; TSX 60 -0.12 per cent

Equities
Japan's Nikkei -0.35 per cent
Shanghai composite index +0.41 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.79 per cent 
Germany's DAX -0.27 per cent
London's FTSE -0.15 per cent
France's CAC 40 -0.28 per cent

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Commodities
WTI crude oil (Nymex April) -1.29 per cent at $48.15 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex April) +0.24 per cent at $1,232.21 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex May) -0.59 per cent at $2.68 (U.S.) a pound

Currencies
Canadian dollar +0.012 at 74.93 cents (U.S.)
U.S. dollar index -0.08 per cent at 100.24

Bonds
Canada 10-year bond yield -0.10 at 1.77 per cent

KEY ECONOMIC RELEASES

Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Indexes are released across the globe, including in the U.S. France also releases fourth-quarter GDP numbers.

(8:30 a.m. ET) Canada consumer price index for February. The Street expects a rise of 2.4 per cent year over year.

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(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. durable goods orders for February. Consensus is for a rise of 1.0 per cent from a month earlier.

KEY STOCKS TO WATCH

Earnings include: Aura Minerals Inc., BRP Inc., K-Bro Linen Inc., and Power Corporation of Canada.

Hudson's Bay Co., the Canadian owner of luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, exposed the personal information of tens of thousands of customers through the company's websites. The company posted information including email addresses and phone numbers for customers at Saks as well as identification codes for products that customers signed up for on wait-lists. The private data were taken down after Hudson's Bay was contacted by BuzzFeed News, which first reported the exposure.

**

Shares of Dominion Diamond Corp. are soaring in pre-market trade following the weekend disclosure that Canadian mining company is the target of a takeover offer reported to be worth about $1.1-billion (U.S.). The offer was originally made privately on Feb. 21 by The Washington Co. but only revealed by both companies on Sunday. The Montana-based private company is offering $13.50 per share cash for Dominion Diamond.

**

Also see: Monday's small-cap stocks to watch

With files from wire services

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