Stocks Due For Rough Ride Friday

By Baystreet Stock Market Update

Futures pointed to a lower open for Canada’s main stock index on Friday, as oil prices dropped on global growth worries after China reported weak export data and the European Central Bank warned of continued weakness.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index skidded 35.56 points to conclude Thursday at 16,056.51

The Canadian dollar shied 0.02 cents to 74.35 cents U.S. early Friday

Futures fell 0.3% Friday.

MEG Energy reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday, as the company sold its bitumen crude at lower prices because of transportation bottlenecks.

Barrick Gold Corp CEO Mark Bristow told the media Thursday his company is having “constructive” talks with rival Newmont Mining Corp about a possible joint venture in Nevada,

Miners Yamana Gold, Glencore and Goldcorp said on Thursday they signed an agreement to develop and operate Yamana’s Agua Rica gold and copper mine in Argentina using infrastructure and facilities of the three companies’ existing venture in the country.

RBC cut the rating on Canadian Western Bank to sector perform from outperform

Canaccord Genuity cut the rating on Obsidian Energy to hold from speculative buy

National Bank of Canada cut the rating on Paramount Resources to sector perform from outperform

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported the economy created 56,000 jobs in February, driven by gains in full-time work. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8% as the number of people searching for work held steady.

Also, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the trend in housing starts was 203,554 units in February, compared to 207,742 units in January.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 4.35 points Thursday to 615.21

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock index futures were lower on Friday, amid escalating concerns about a global economic slowdown.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 135 points, or 0.5%, at 25,368

Futures for the S&P 500 lost 14.5 points, or 0.5%, at 2,741

NASDAQ futures stepped back 46.5 points, or 0.7%, to 7,009.50

Vail Resorts is among the firms reporting earnings Friday.

Market focus is largely attuned to economic data, after shockingly weak export figures from China exacerbated concerns about a global economic downturn.

The world’s second-largest economy reported on Friday that exports in February slumped 20.7% from a year earlier, far below analyst expectations and wiping out a surprise jump in January.

Domestically, non-farm payrolls, unemployment rate and average hourly wages data for February were due out Friday morning, with housing starts and building permits figures for January are both expected to follow later in the trading day.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 tumbled 2% Friday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index swooned 1.9%

Oil prices backtracked $1.23 to $55.43U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $6.60 to $1,292.70U.S. an ounce.

This article provided by NewsEdge.