Future Barely Clear Breakeven

Oil Prices Closely Watched

Futures for Canada's main stock index inched up on Thursday, aided by higher bullion prices, although trading volumes are likely to remain subdued due to a U.S. holiday.

The S&P/TSX Composite grew 94.66 points Wednesday to 21,548.23.

Futures were up 0.1% Thursday

The Canadian dollar docked 0.07 cents to 78.9 cents U.S.

Meanwhile, energy stocks were poised to open lower tracking weakness in crude prices with investors waiting to see how major producers respond to the emergency crude release by major consuming countries designed to cool the market.

The United States has decided to almost double the duties on Canadian softwood lumber from most producers to 17.9%, Trade Minister Mary Ng said on Wednesday, adding that Canada is "extremely disappointed."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday he is "extremely concerned" by increases in the cost of living caused by high inflation, adding that Liberal government policies should help address the issue.

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported payroll employment, as measured by the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours, rose by 91,100 (or 0.5%) in September.

Overseas, markets in Japan advanced 0.7%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong eked up 0.2%.

Oil prices subsided 30 cents to $78.09 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices improved $6.10 to $1,790.40 U.S. an ounce.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 10.99 points Wednesday to 970.48.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday on Thanksgiving Day. The stock market closes early at 1 p.m. ET on Friday.