Equities drop on ECB stimulus, oil decline
Equity markets dropped Thursday as the European Central Bank cut interest rates with its overnight rate dropping to negative 0.4 per cent. The bank also announced an extension of its quantitative easing program. The markets reacted as the euro gained, not what the ECB wanted, and analysts talked of an end of the bank’s options.
Oil prices also declined on concern over stockpiles combined with worries that the much-talked-about freeze on output may not happen. Despite the fall Brent remained above $40 with West Texas crude down almost 1 per cent to just shy of $38.
Asian markets had closed mixed earlier in the day on further weak Chinese data and a surprise cut in New Zealand interest rates.
Wall Street was mostly lower although the S&P500 ended just above the line.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 13.76 (0.10 per cent)
The Dow Jones closed down 5.23 (0.03 per cent)
Oil is trending lower (Brent $40.17, WTI $37.90 at 4.40pm)
Gold is trending higher (1272.10 at 4.40pm)
The loonie is valued at U$0.7589
Canada-US relations in focus as Trudeau met Obama
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with President Obama Thursday in what has been hailed as a thawing of frosty relations. The two nations have agreed to cut emissions from oil and gas operations as part of a joint offensive on climate change. On welcoming Mr Trudeau, the President said: "We haven't always conveyed how much we treasure our alliance and ties with our Canadian friends.” Both leaders have common ground in issues with the TPP trade agreement.
Alberta debt delinquencies up 25 per cent
More Albertans are struggling with debt repayments according to Equifax. There has been a 25 per cent increase in delinquencies in the province in the past year and average debt is $27,000. That compares to a national average of $21,458. Delinquencies increased 14 per cent in Saskatchewan, 11.8 per cent in Newfoundland and 6.4 per cent in Manitoba. Nova Scotia and PEI saw small increases (2.2 and 2.4 per cent respectively) while the other provinces saw decreases.
TransCanada could acquire US natural gas assets
TransCanada is widely reported to be in talks with a Texas pipeline firm which would see the Calgary company become a major owner of US natural gas assets. The Financial Post says that the target is Houston-based Columbia Pipeline Group, although in a statement confirming that talks are underway TransCanada refers only to a “third party”.