Traders await market boost

Stock markets could be in for some sideways trading this week as a rally that started last October and ran ahead practically non-stop seems stalled for the time being.

Stock markets could be in for some sideways trading this week as a rally that started last October and ran ahead practically non-stop seems stalled for the time being.

The main TSX index and the Dow industrials average were lower last week despite solid jobs data out Friday showing that an improving U.S. economy cranked out 227,000 jobs last month, the third straight month of gains in excess of 200,000.

The TSX is still up 4.6 per cent year to date while the U.S. blue chip barometer is ahead 5.76 per cent as the jobs report and a slew of other recent data have reinforced the view that the American economy has turned a corner.

“The fact that we had this very robust advance in the market without really any meaningful pullback has been a bit of a surprise,” said Norman Raschkowan, North American strategist for Mackenzie Financial Corp.

“But all the data has come through very well. The employment data was very good but also consumer confidence and the auto sales data and all the other elements that give you a sense that the economy is on the right path. And that it’s sort of a sustainable growth path now.”

The major event this week will be the U.S. Federal Reserve’s scheduled meeting on interest rates. The Fed won’t be raising rates from near zero but traders will be anxious to view the central bank’s latest take on the economy.

There has been some hope that the Fed would embark on another round of economic stimulus but Raschkowan thinks this highly unlikely given the recent positive signals on the economy.

The fact that this is an election year in the U.S. would also give the Fed pause in launching further economic stimulus.

“The Fed isn’t going to want to become a political issue,” he said.

“Any sort of unncessary action on their parts will be sort of highly politicized and, unless there is something dramatic that happens, I would expect them to maintain a neutral course through the balance of the year.”

Elsewhere on the economic calendar, traders will look to the latest U.S. inflation reading on Friday.

Economists expect to see the February data register a 0.5 per cent month over month increase, taking the annual rate up to three per cent. The rise would reflect a sharp jump in crude prices that month because of growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

The other key number in the U.S. is the February retail sales number on Tuesday.

The forecast calls for a one per cent gain in sales and a 0.7 per cent rise excluding auto sales.

In Canada, traders will look to the January reading of manufacturing shipments. A 0.2 per cent gain is expected.

“Autos will be in the spotlight again in January’s report, given surging vehicle exports recorded in that month’s goods trade report,” said CIBC economist Emanuella Enenajor.

“But there may be little else to cheer about as metals and machinery-related exports both plunged that month.”

Just Posted

Spring book sale this weekend in Red Deer

Red Deerians can get lost in a world of inexpensive books this… Continue reading

Central Alberta wildlife rehab facility not prepared to take orphaned bear cubs, yet

It’s been about eight years since the Medicine River Wildlife Centre was… Continue reading

Regional sewage line moving ahead despite concerns

Cost sharing among concerns of municipalities involved in Sylvan Lake-to-Red Deer sewage line

Red Deer family who lost everything in house fire begin rebuilding

Couple had moved into north-end home only two days before basement fire

Tory Leader Andrew Scheer says he doesn’t feel betrayed by Maxime Bernier

MONTREAL — Andrew Scheer says he doesn’t feel betrayed by former Tory… Continue reading

WATCH: Fine wine and food at Red Deer College

The Red Deer College Alumni Association hosted its 14th annual Fine Wine… Continue reading

Boston’s Tuukka Rask, Riley Nash step up in Game 4 win over Leafs

Bruins 3 Maple Leafs 1 TORONTO — The Boston Bruins didn’t need… Continue reading

Supreme Court ruling corks B.C. vintners’ hopes for free trade of Canadian wines

VANCOUVER — The Supreme Court of Canada ruling upholding interprovincial trade laws… Continue reading

Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with U.S. government

Disgraced cyclist reached $5-million settlement with sponsor U.S. Postal Service

Montreal couple hoping city lets them keep beloved pet pig named Babe

MONTREAL — Babe the pig spends his days sleeping, going for walks… Continue reading

WATCH: This is a story about a stoned raccoon at a fire station

An unusual pair showed up in the pre-dawn hours at Fire Station… Continue reading

Plastic makers’ credit ratings may be hit by pollution rules

Plastic packaging makers may be less credit-worthy in the future as governments… Continue reading

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

‘Dining of the future’: vegan restaurant boom fuelled by meat eaters

Foodies say Canada is in the midst of a renaissance in plant-based… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month