OTTAWA (Alliance News) - Bay Street is likely to see a positive start Thursday morning, reacting to the US jobless claims data and some strong Canadian earnings reports.
As expected, the European Central Bank has left its key lending rate unchanged. Investors are now looking for clues about possible stimulus from the ECB.
Investors are also keeping a close watch on the developments in Ukraine. Reacting to sanctions from the US and the EU, Russia has imposed a ban on imports of agricultural products from the US and imports of fruits and vegetables from Europe.
Energy stocks are likely to move up, tracking higher crude oil prices.
On Wednesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 14.38 points or 0.09% at 15,202.09, after scaling a high of 15,226.31 and a low of 15,121.99 intraday.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) reported a surge in second-quarter 2014 net earnings to CAD1.07 billion, or CAD0.97 a share, from CAD476 million, or CAD0.44 a share, for the prior-year quarter.
BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) has reported second quarter net earnings of CAD606 million, or CAD0.78 a share, compared to CAD571 million, or CAD0.74 a share, last year. On an adjusted basis, quarterly earnings per share amounted to CAD0.82.
Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) said its second-quarter net income attributed to shareholders surged to CAD943 million or CAD0.49 per share from last year's CAD259 million or CAD0.12 per share.
Air Canada (AC.A.TO) reported second-quarter net income of CAD223 million and CAD0.75 per share, as against a net loss of CAD23 million and CAD0.09 per share in the second quarter of 2013.
Telecom major Telus Corp. (T.TO) reported that its second-quarter net income increased to CAD381 million or CAD0.62 per share, from CAD286 million or CAD0.44 per share last year.
Canadian Tire Corp. (CTC.A.TO) reported net income of USD178.9 million for the second quarter 2014, compared to USD154.9 million in the comparable quarter a year earlier.
In commodities, crude oil futures for September are up USD0.47 or 0.48% at USD97.40 a barrel, amid worries about the unrest in Ukraine and on concerns about possible impact of Russia's retaliation to US and EU sanctions.
Natural gas for September is up USD0.011 or 0.28% at USD3.944 per million btu.
Gold futures for December are down USD0.50 or 0.04% at USD1,307.70 an ounce.
Silver for September is down USD0.036 or 0.18% at USD19.988 an ounce. Meanwhile, copper is flat at USD3.168 per pound.
In economic news from the US, a report from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims to have unexpectedly declined to 289,000 in the week ended August 2nd, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level of 303,000.
The European Central Bank today held its key lending rate unchanged at 0.15%, as expected. The bank maintained the deposit rate at -0.10%.