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TSX May Extend Losses At Open On Weak Global Cues - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks may extend losses at open Wednesday as commodities and global stocks suffered losses after the US dollar strengthened on Federal Reserve's comments on economy. Also, economic data from across the Atlantic came in mixed.

Euro zone retail sales declined at a slower pace, while Germany's factory orders grew marginally month-on-month in February. Elsewhere, a bond auction by Spain today witnessed lukewarm response.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower open.

On Tuesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index snapped its two-session winning streak to shed 183.44 points or 1.47 percent to 12,323.61.

The price of crude oil slipped back below $103 Wednesday morning as traders await cues from the official inventories data, due out later during the session. The EIA will come out with its report on US crude oil inventories for the weekended March 30. Analysts expect crude oil inventories to gain 2.20 million barrels, while gasoline stocks are seen dipping 1.40 million barrels last week. Crude for May shed $1.21 to $102.80 a barrel.

The price of gold moved down near a 3-month low Wednesday morning as the US dollar strengthened after Federal Reserve policymakers yesterday said that the U.S. economy is gradually improving and appear less inclined to implement any more monetary stimulus. Gold for June dived $51.10 to $1,620.90 an ounce.

In corporate news from Canada, gold and silver miner First Majestic Silver (FR.TO) said it would acquire Silvermex Resources (SLX.TO) for about C$175.00 million or C$0.60 per share. The offer values Silvemex at approximately 33 percent premium to its latest closing price.

Software solutions provider 20-20 Technologies Inc. (TWT.TO) posted lower first-quarter net earnings of $0.14 million or $0.01 per share compared with the prior year's $0.37 million or $0.02 per share.

Development stage biotechnology company SemBioSys Genetics Inc (SBS.TO) announced that it has applied to the Toronto Stock Exchange to voluntarily delist the trading of its common shares from the stock exchange.

Oil and gas industry services provider Strategic Oil & Gas (SOG.V) slipped into the red in fourth quarter, reporting net loss of C$16.2 million or C$0.11 per share compared to a net income of C$3.1 million or C$0.03 per share in the previous year quarter.

Oil and gas services provider Leader Energy Services (LEA.V) reported higher fourth-quarter net profit of $1.96 million or $0.09 per share compared to $1.10 million or $0.03 per share last year.

In economic news from the U.S., the ADP said employment increased by 209,000 jobs in February following an upwardly revised increase of 230,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected an increase of about 208,000 jobs compared to the addition of 216,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank left its key interest rate unchanged at 0.25 percent for a fourth month in a row in April, as widely expected. The central bank had reduced the rate in November and December, reversing the two hikes undertaken earlier last year.

Euro zone retail sales declined in February, but at a slower-than-expected pace, data from Eurostat showed. Retail sales fell 0.1 percent month-on-month in February, following a 1.1 percent rise in January. Economists were expecting sales to dip 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Germany's factory orders grew 0.3 percent month-on-month in February, reversing January's 1.8 percent decline, the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology showed. The expansion was much smaller than the 1.5 percent consensus forecast. On a yearly basis, industrial orders fell by adjusted 6.1 percent, following a 6 percent drop in the previous month. Economists were expecting 5.5 percent decrease.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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