Stocks fall in early trading as oil prices decline

The S&P/TSX Composite battled out of negative territory, and forged into the green 60.73 points to close Monday at 14,748.19. Energy and financials led the way, with Silver Standard Resources up 4.39 per cent and EnCana up 2.85 per cent.

The stock market gained Monday, ignoring the losses registered in the rest of the region on improving growth prospects.

Given the concern over "continued weakness in business investment" expressed in the latest FOMC minutes, we believe the July durable orders report will be key, and our economist expects a 3.1% MoM rebound. The loonie closed Monday at 77.22 cents USA after dropping a full cent over two trading days.

The U.S. dollar continued to trade lower, despite the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reporting today that new U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly rose in July and climbed to their highest level in almost nine years.

The New Zealand dollar strengthened after Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Wheeler said the bank's current interest rate policy involves further monetary easing measures but he said he did not see the need for a rapid series of rate cuts.

As the U.S. earnings season winds down, the focus shifts to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's upcoming speech on Friday at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for clues on when the central bank will raise rates.

All 10 major S&P 500 indexes were higher. However, with Fed backtracking on its interest rate outlook, the dollar is losing some of its previous momentum.

"While recent US data has been mixed, the base case for the Fed is probably to increase rates in the absence of any compelling reason not to", Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, said by phone.

"We think the dollar is already trading under the impression of a dovish Fed", said TD Securities in Tuesday's research note.

"We're seeing an nearly eerily quite, very subdued continued melt-up environment".

At 11:04 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 50.75 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 18,580.17. The PHLX housing sector index .HGX rose 1.9 percent and was on track for its best daily performance in about six weeks. Chinese mainland markets were modestly higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.13% and the Shenzhen composite adding 0.11%. The stock was the primary drag on the consumer staples index .SPLRCS , which edged 0.1 percent lower.

USA stocks were little changed on Monday, Aug. 22, as a drop in oil prices that weighed on the energy sector was offset with a strong showing by biotech stocks.

Stocks end lower following sharp pullback in oil prices.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.13-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.87-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

Gold futures for December delivery slid 0.2 percent to settle at $1,343.40 an ounce at 1:39 p.m. on the Comex in NY, a third decline in four sessions.

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