Toronto's main stock index charged from the gate Tuesday, on hopes that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke might hint at delivering more monetary stimulus even as the Bank of Canada kept interest rates unchanged.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 45.08 points, to open trading at 11,566.26
The Canadian dollar gained 0.11 cents to 98.64 cents U.S.
The Bank of Canada held its main policy rate at 1% this morning, but the real focus will be on whether it will repeat, dilute or omit the message that it may soon need to raise the rate.
Among the stocks to watch in the early going, AuRico Gold Inc., whose CEO resigned for health reasons and was replaced by Scott Perry. Perry joined the gold miner as chief financial officer in February 2008.
Separately, the gold miner cut its 2012 production outlook on Monday as a high turnover of skilled labourers at its Ocampo mine in northern Mexico weighed on gold and silver output.
The machinists' union said on Monday it filed papers in U.S. bankruptcy court challenging efforts by bankrupt jet maker Hawker Beechcraft to sell itself to a Chinese company, alleging the move could cost jobs and threaten U.S. national security, events that could hold significance for domestic manufacturer Onex Corp.
In economic matters, Statistics Canada revealed this morning that Manufacturing sales unexpectedly fell 0.4% in May following a downwardly revised 1.1% drop in April and a 2.0% jump in March. Market expectations were for a 0.6% increase in May.
The nation's number-crunchers added that the decline in overall sales was limited by a sizeable 65.8% surge in the aerospace sector that offset a sizeable portion of a 9.6% drop in the petroleum and coal component.
The TSX Venture Exchange grew 1.87 points to 1,185.22. The Nasdaq Canada index picked up 1.73 points to 343.72.
In all, 10 of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher at the outset. Energy stocks powered up 0.8%, information technology improved 0.7%, and industrials were 0.6% to the good.
The four laggards were weighed down mostly by the metals and mining sector, off 0.4%, while global base metals and gold were down 0.2% each.
U.S. stocks opened higher Tuesday as investors considered more earnings reports and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before a Senate committee.
The Dow Jones Industrials opened to the upside, gaining 37.05 points to 12,764.26
The S&P 500 added 2.47 points to 1,356.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index recovered 4.26 points to 2,901.20.
Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs reported positive quarterly results, and shares of both companies were up in pre-market trading. Shares of Johnson & Johnson were down after it released figures.
Sprint Nextel shares were up more than 4% in pre-market trading as the telecom company launched faster service in 15 cities across the United States. The new 4G LTE network is about 10 times faster than the commonly used 3G and is available on five of its phones.
Yahoo shares were up more than 2% in pre-market trading after the company named Marissa Mayer, a Google executive who was one of the first two dozen employees at the search leader, as its new CEO on Monday.
HSBC shares fell 2.4% in after-hours trading Monday. A U.S. Senate report released late Monday said HSBC failed to prevent billions of dollars worth of money transfers that investigators believe were linked to drug cartels and terrorist groups.
Investors will also get data on the health of the broader economy amid worries about whether the U.S. recovery may be sputtering.
Later Tuesday, Bernanke will give his semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.
Investors will be listening closely for any clues about whether the central bank is considering a third round of quantitative easing, expanding the money supply.
Economically speaking, U.S. consumer prices rose at a 1.7% annual rate in June, unchanged from May.
Other reports on tap for Tuesday morning include industrial production and foreign purchases of Treasuries.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury sagged, pushing the yield up to 1.49% from Monday's 1.46%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for August delivery gained 62 cents to $89.05 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery rose $3.40 to $1,595 U.S. an ounce.