DJIA: 17,689.86  -56.12 (-0.32%) | NASDAQ: 5,128.281  -0.503 (-0.01%) | S&P 500: 2,103.84  -4.79 (-0.23%) Markets status unavailable

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    * TSX up 87.31 points, or 0.61 percent, to 14,470.09. * Seven of the TSX's 10 main groups rise. By Solarina Ho. Canada's main stock index was headed for its fourth straight day of gains on Friday with the heavily weighted financials and materials sectors leading the way as investors sought value after a bleak couple of months for the market.

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    China posts its worst monthly performance in six years. Ahead of Friday's open, the S&P 500 index is set to finish the month of July up 2.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite is looking at a gain of nearly 3%. In fact, the S&P 500' s gains in July are on pace to be the second-best monthly performance of the year, behind February's 5.5% rally and the Nasdaq Composite Index's monthly gain is second-best to a 7% surge in February.

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    * Canadian dollar at C$1.2945 or 77.25 U.S. cents * Bond prices higher across the maturity curve TORONTO, July 31 - The Canadian dollar was firmer against its U.S. counterpart on Friday after figures that showed the Canadian economy shrank in May for the fifth straight month were overshadowed by U.S. data that weakened the greenback.

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    Canada's main stock index was higher on Friday, as the heavily-weighted financial and materials stocks rose, offsetting losses among energy names. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 12.41 points, or 0.09 percent, at 14,395.19 shortly after the open.

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    China's securities regulator is probing the impact of automated trading on stock markets after the heavy falls in the markets over the past months. Household spending in Japan fell unexpectedly and inflation was weak in June, raising the specter of a contraction in the second quarter.

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    The Canadian dollar briefly retreated to session lows on Friday after Canadian growth unexpectedly shrank for the fifth straight month in May. The Canadian dollar briefly touched C$1.3099 to the U.S. dollar, or 76.34 U.S. cents, before paring most of its session losses.

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    Greece's stock market aims to reopen on Monday following a five-week shutdown but is still awaiting a finance ministry decree detailing new trading rules, the Greek securities regulator's chairman told Reuters on Friday.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 index down 0.2 pct. * Commodities shares track weaker oil, metals. * UCB, BNP Paribas, Natixis up after results. By Atul Prakash. European shares fell slightly after hitting a one-week high on Friday, with commodity stocks leading the market lower after prices of crude oil and major industrial metals dropped on supply-demand concerns.

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    Russia's central bank on Friday cut the benchmark interest rate to 11% from 11.5%, meeting widely held expectations. The U.S. dollar rose to 60.58 rubles from 60.30 rubles after the decision was released. The decision to cut rates takes "into account that the balance of risks shifts towards the considerable economy cooling despite a slight increase in inflation risks," the central bank said in a statement.

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    The stampede out of emerging markets and commodities continued last week as investors dumped yet more billions of dollars worth of assets sensitive to higher U.S. interest rates and worries over China, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Friday.

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     . Facebook (FB) and Twitter  traded lower this week following earnings but LinkedIn (LNKD) investors were hoping the third time would be the charm. Initially, shares soared after the company reporting beating on earnings per share and revenue estimates and raised full-year guidance. Colin Gillis, senior tech analyst at BGC Financial, has a hold rating and $250 price target on LinkedIn.

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    * July batters commodities, China stocks see biggest drop in 6 yrs. * U.S. GDP data reinforces bets that Fed is on track to hike. * Gold, copper record losses on stronger dollar. * Oil down over 15 percent for month on supply, China, dollar woes. By Marc Jones.

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    Investors jittery ahead of China manufacturing data. China's shares suffered their worst month in nearly six years this July, after confidence in a government-led recovery wavered earlier this week, knocking shares lower. Shaken conviction in Beijing's support drove wild intraday swings this week in the Shanghai Composite Index, which ended 1.1% lower at 3,663.73.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.2 pct. * UCB, BNP Paribas, Natixis up after results. * Engie falls on HSBC downgrade to "hold" By Atul Prakash. European shares advanced for a fourth straight session to a one-week high on Friday, with forecast-beating earnings reports from some companies underpinning market sentiment.

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    FTSE 100 gains boosted by solid company earnings. U.K. stocks climbed Thursday, with advances for Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC helping to push the benchmark FTSE 100 to a third straight win. The FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 6,658.8, topped by a 4.5% gain by Royal Dutch Shell.

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    European shares steadied in early trading on Friday after having risen in the previous three sessions, with some companies posting strong gains after announcing forecast-beating results. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was flat at 1,570.90 points by 0709 GMT.

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    Japanese government bond prices were mostly steady on Friday, pulling ahead slightly at the longer end. The 10-year JGB futures price ended 0.06 point higher at 147.55, up 0.4 percent for the month.