The Toronto stock market was set for a higher open Tuesday amid hopes that the U.S. presidential election will yield a clear-cut winner.
The Canadian dollar ran up 0.3 of a cent to 100.63 cents US amid rising commodity prices.
New York futures were also higher as the Dow Jones industrial futures rose 30 points to 13,083, the Nasdaq futures gained 9.5 points to 2,671.75 while the S&P 500 futures were ahead 2.9 points to 1,414.9.
The latest opinion polls point to a narrow victory for incumbent Barack Obama.
But whichever way the contest plays out, the big hope is that the result will be clear enough to avoid a re-run of 2000 when the result was only known weeks later after a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Above all, traders hope that Democrats and Republicans will get down to the business of arriving at a budget agreement that will avert an automatic increase in taxes and spending cuts that could be imposed at the start of 2013.
This so-called fiscal cliff is particularly alarming as economists predict the subsequent shock from the higher taxes and deep automatic cuts in military and domestic spending would send the economy back into recession.
Greece was also in focus as legislators prepare to vote on a €13.5-billion package of spending cuts and tax increases over the next two years that are needed in order to secure another round of rescue loans.
The outcome of the vote is far from certain due to disagreements in the five-month-old coalition government and reluctance among centre-left legislators to approve yet more austerity measures. But the rejection of the savings package would leave Greece facing the threat of a default on its mountain of debt that could force it to eventually exit the euro bloc.
Commodity prices were higher with the December crude contract in New York up 46 cents to US$86.11 a barrel.
December copper added a penny to US$3.48 a pound while December bullion climbed $8.40 to US$1,691.60 an ounce.
European bourses were positive as London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.58%, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.51% and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.4%.
In Asia, investors monitoring developments in China ahead of Thursday’s opening of the Communist party congress — the once-in-a-decade forum used to name China’s top leadership. Although current Vice-President Xi Jinping is almost certain to be named China’s next leader, markets will be closely watching the congress for hints on how the new leadership plans to tackle a stubborn economic slowdown.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.3%. Mainland Chinese shares also closed lower as the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4% and the Shenzhen Composite Index shed 0.6%.
In corporate news, directory publisher Yellow Media Inc. says it had $24 million of net earnings in the third quarter, or four cents per share, a big turnaround from the same time last year when it took a huge writedown on assets that resulted in a net loss of $2.8 billion.
Revenues fell to $267.7 million from $323.4 million last year. Adjusted earnings came in at $77.1 million or 15 cents per share in the latest quarter compared with $69.2 million or 14 cents per share last year.
Overseas, Nissan’s quarterly profit rose nearly 8% to 106 billion yen (US$1.3 billion), slightly better than the 96 billion yen profit forecast by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Quarterly sales improved 5.5% to 2.4 trillion yen but the Japanese automaker lowered its full-year forecasts because of a sales slump in China and weakness in Europe.