TORONTO - The Toronto stock market looked set for a positive open Monday amid hopes that central bankers will ride to the rescue of a weak global economic recovery with fresh stimulus measures.
The Canadian dollar rose 0.12 of a cent to 100.97 cents US.
U.S. futures were little changed with the Dow Jones industrial futures up 10 points to 13,166, while the Nasdaq futures moved ahead 15.5 points to 2,790.5 and the S&P 500 futures rose 3.8 points to 1,413.6.
Markets ended last week positive after the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke had written a Republican lawmaker saying there was room for the central bank to do more to help the recovery.
There were also hopes that the Chinese government is ready to boost the world’s second-biggest economy after Premier Wen Jiabao called for efforts to stabilize weakening exports.
The report from the official Xinhua news agency gave no indication of possible measures but Beijing previously has promised tax cuts and loans by state banks to help struggling exporters.
Export growth in July fell to just one per cent, well below forecasts, from the previous month’s 11.3 per cent growth due to weak demand in debt-crippled Europe, China’s biggest export market, and the United States, which is struggling with a sluggish recovery.
Central bankers will be in focus later in the week as the U.S. Federal Reserve holds its annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Bernanke delivers a keynote speech Friday while European Central Bank president Mario Draghi speaks on Saturday.
Draghi said Aug. 2 that the ECB was prepared to do whatever was necessary to keep the euro currency union intact.
Meanwhile, there were signs that the weakening eurozone economy in starting to affect Germany, Europe’s biggest economy.
German business optimism, as calculated by the Ifo business survey, fell more than expected in August.
The index released Monday fell to 102.3 points in August from a revised 103.2 in July. Market analysts had expected a reading of 102.6.
Troubles elsewhere are starting to make themselves felt. Italy and Spain, the No. 3 and No. 4 eurozone economies, are in recessions as they try to reduce budget deficits and struggle to refinance their debt in bond markets.
Meanwhile, Germany’s economy minister rejected calls for Greece to get more time to implement reforms, saying Athens needs to respect the bailout deal reached with its international creditors.
Meanwhile, oil prices rose Monday amid worries that tropical storm Isaac could affect oil and refining operations in the Gulf of Mexico. An explosion at a refinery in Venezuela also pushed prices higher.
The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 77 cents to US$96.92 a barrel.
Traders are concerned that the storm will be a repeat of hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Gustav in 208, damaging Gulf refineries and pipelines and disrupting oil tanker traffic.
Other commodities were mixed with September copper unchanged at US$3.48 a pound while December gold dipped $1.70 to US$1,671.20 an ounce.
There was major acquisition activity over the weekend.
Canadian uranium giant Cameco (TSX:CCO) has purchased one of Australia’s largest undeveloped uranium deposits. Cameco is paying BHP Billiton US$430 million for the Yeelirrie uranium project.
Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) is buying sports broadcaster Score Media Inc. (TSX:SCR) in a transaction valued at $167 million, or $1.62 per share. Shares of Score Media jumped nearly 47 per cent Friday following reports that the specialty TV sports broadcaster was in discussions to be purchased by Rogers (TSX:RCI.B). Score Media, which owns the Score Television Network, rose 49 cents to $1.54 on the Toronto Stock Exchange before its stock was halted pending news just before noon Friday.
On the earnings front, Tiffany & Co.’s net income rose two per cent to US$91.8 million in the second quarter as revenue improved, but the performance missed expectations and the jewelry company cut its full-year guidance.
European bourses advanced with Frankfurt's DAX ahead 0.32 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 gaining 0.46 per cent. The London exchange was closed for a holiday.
In Asia, markets were unsettled after Apple’s court victory in a high-stakes patent dispute case sent shares of Samsung Electronics into a tailspin.
After more than three weeks of trial in the U.S. and two days of deliberations, the nine-person jury said Friday that Samsung copied Apple’s iPhone and iPad and ordered the South Korean firm to pay more than US$1 billion in damages.
The verdict battered shares of Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of smartphones, memory chips, display panels and televisions. The stock plunged 7.5 per cent in Seoul. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi fell 0.2 per cent.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.4 per cent Japan’s Nikkei 224 index rose 0.2 per cent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.1 per cent.