North American stock markets headed for calmer day of trading

TORONTO - North American investors appear headed for a calmer Friday after days of upheaval spurred by events surrounding China's currency and two of its major stock markets.

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Several major Asian stock indexes including the Shanghai Composite closed slightly higher Friday, after China's central bank issued a statement promising it would aim for currency stability and China's stock regulator suspended a new "circuit breaker" system that were triggered on Monday and Thursday -- upsetting securities markets around the world.

In Europe, market indexes were slightly up or slightly down before the North American trading day began and before the release of unemployment reports in Canada and the United States at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The Dow Jones index futures were modestly higher, up 92 points or 0.56 per cent at 16,511.0. Similar small gains were seen with S&P 500 futures, up 11 points at 1,944.0, and Nasdaq futures were up 33 points at 4,322,25 about an hour before the jobs reports.

The Canadian dollar remained below 71 cents US near 12 1/2-year lows but slightly higher. It was at 70.95 cents US, up 0.01 from Thursday's close at 70.94 cents US.

On the commodity markets, the February gold contract fell $7.70 to US$1,100.10 an ounce and the February crude contract was up 29 cents at US$33.56 per barrel.


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