CANADA STOCKS-TSX futures tick higher on firm gold prices; investors eye Powell's speech

Sept 7 (Reuters) – Futures for Canada’s main stock index inched higher on Thursday, as gold prices rose, while cautious investors eyed U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell’s speech for cues to the future path of monetary policy tightening.

Futures on the commodity-heavy S&P/TSX index were up 0.2% at 06:56 a.m. ET.

Bullion prices rose 0.2% as investors refrained from taking big positions ahead of a European Central Bank policy decision and comments from the Federal Reserve chair.

Oil prices fell, extending sharp losses from the previous session, as China’s extension of lockdown measures to curb the COVID-19 spread exacerbated concerns that a slowdown in economic activity globally would hit fuel demand.

Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to speak at a conference later in the day. Fed officials said on Wednesday they were still not convinced the worst of the U.S. inflation scare had passed, signaling a continuation of aggressive rate hikes.

Powell’s speech comes a day after the Bank of Canada hiked its interest rate by 75 basis points to their highest level in 14 years and signaled its most aggressive tightening campaign in decades was not yet done as it battles to tame inflation.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended 0.8% up to its best day in three weeks on Wednesday.

Dow e-minis were up 43 points, or 0.14% at 06:56 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.13% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14 points, or 0.11%.

The Australian competition regulator said it will not oppose an A$2.47 billion ($1.67 billion) acquisition of Link Administration Holdings by Canada’s Dye & Durham Ltd , if it divests its existing local business. (Reporting by Aniruddha Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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