TORONTO - The Toronto stock market headed for a solid open to July trading Wednesday as the Canadian market catches up to solid manufacturing reports released while the TSX was closed for Canada Day.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.33 of a cent to a seven-month high of 94.05 cents US.
U.S. futures were positive as the Dow Jones industrial futures rose 16 points to 16,892, the Nasdaq futures climbed 3.5 points to 3,888.3 and the S&P 500 futures gained 2.25 points to 1,968.
On Tuesday, the Dow and the S&P 500 entered the second half of 2014 trading by hitting new highs after data showed that Chinese manufacturing grew in June for the first time in six months. In the U.S., the manufacturing sector advanced for a 13th straight month of growth.
"Our global manufacturing confidence index has reversed much of the first quarter decline, led by the U.S. and China," said a commentary from Barclays Research.
"Reassuringly, forward-looking components suggest the improvement should last well into (the second half of 2014)."
Traders looked ahead to the other major economic event for the week, the release Friday of the U.S. government's employment report for June. Ahead of that data, U.S. payrolls firm ADP reported that the private sector created 281,000 jobs during June. Economists expect the government's report to show that the economy cranked out about 210,000 jobs last month.
In corporate news, JPMorgan Chase chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon said he has curable throat cancer. In a message to employees and shareholders, Dimon said he plans to remain on the job and be actively involved in key decisions while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Despite the words of reassurance, Dimon’s illness could raise leadership concerns at one of the world’s biggest banks.
In Canada, paper products firm Cascades (TSX:CAS) has sold its fine papers operations to Rolland Enterprises Inc., a subsidiary of H.I.G. Capital for $39.5 million. The sale involves three plants in Quebec.
Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd. (TSX:LIM) says it has suspended all operations at its mines for the year, due to the low price of iron ore and a refocus by the company to cut costs. The company also said Wednesday that it had a net loss of $20.5 million, or 15 cents per share in the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $71.3 million, or 65 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.
Commodities were mixed with August crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 45 cents to US$104.89 a barrel.
July copper gained two cents to US$3.21 a pound while August bullion rose $2.30 to US$1,328.90 an ounce.
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