By Linda Nguyen
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — With little on the economic calendar, the focus will continue to stay on any developments regarding Syria, as North American markets poised for a flat open Wednesday.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.12 of a cent to 96.76 cents US.
The financial markets have settled down after President Barack Obama said late Tuesday that the U.S. will back down from a military strike on Syria, after the Middle East country agreed to a Russian proposal to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile.
In a televised address, Obama said the American military will continue to stay prepared to attack Syria if needed.
With Damascus indicating its support for the Russian plan, investors have largely breathed a sigh of relief that a strike and all the possible regional repercussions may be averted. Geopolitical uncertainties, particularly when related to the oil-rich Middle East, are rarely conducive to risk-taking in the investing community.
U.S. futures were higher as the Dow Jones industrial futures fell 2 points to 15,171, the Nasdaq futures was down 12.75 points to 3,170 and the S&P 500 futures dipped 1.70 points to 1,680.70.
Syria remains the main driver in oil markets in particular, which have been falling amid easing of tensions surrounding Syria. Although Syria isn’t a major producer, political uncertainty in the oil-rich Mideast tends to push up crude prices.
The October crude contract fell nine cents to US$107.30. December bullion fell 70 cents to US$1,363.30 an ounce, while December copper got ahead two cents to US$3.28 a pound.
The steady tone in markets was evident in overseas markets.
In Europe the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 7.78 points to 6576.21, Germany’s DAX was up 39.58 points to 8,486.12. The CAC-40 was 4.71 points lower at 4,111.93.
Earlier in Asia, the Nikkei 225 index, the regional heavyweight, shed early gains to flatten out at 14,425.07 points while China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 per cent to 2,241.27. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent to 22,937.14 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.5 per cent to 2,003.85.
In corporate news, dollar store chain Dollarama Inc. (TSX:DOL) says the addition of more than 90 stores over the past year helped boost its second-quarter sales to $511.3 million, a 16 per cent increase over the same time last year.
The Montreal-based retail company’s net income was $59.8 million or 82 cents per diluted share, up about 24 per cent from a year earlier. Its comparable-store sales also increased by 6.2 per cent.