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TSX Poised For Positive Open; BoC Holds Rate - Canadian Commentary

4/17/2012 9:04 AM ET

Canadian stocks may open higher Tuesday amid firm commodities and mixed cues from the euro zone. While a report revealed that economic sentiment in Germany improved for the fifth straight month, Spain raised debt above its maximum planned target, albeit at a higher cost.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada left its key rates unchanged at 1 percent and said overall, economic momentum in Canada is slightly firmer than the Bank had expected in January. Further the bank noted, economic activity in emerging-market economies is expected to moderate to a still-robust pace over the projection horizon, supported by an easing of macroeconomic policies.

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

On Monday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index eased 2.81 points or 0.02 percent to 12,037.59.

In the commodity markets, the price of crude oil was moving higher Tuesday morning, with crude for May adding $0.97 to $103.90 a barrel.

The price of gold ticking up Tuesday morning as the US dollar edged down after Spain raised debt above its maximum planned target, albeit at a higher cost. Gold for June delivery edged up $2.90 to $1,652.60 an ounce.

From the U.S., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported that its first-quarter net earnings applicable to common shareholders rose to $2.07 billion or $3.92 per share, from $908 million or $1.56 per share in the same quarter last year. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $3.55 per share for the quarter.

In corporate news from Canada, gold mining and exploration company Anaconda Mining (ANX.TO) reported third-quarter net income of C$5.8 million or C$0.03 per share.

According to media reports, smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM.TO) is in talks to hire a financial adviser to help it weigh its strategic options. RIM is looking to hire one Canadian bank and one global bank to help in the process.

Uranium miner Energy Fuels Inc. (EFR.TO) said it would acquire all of Denison Mines Corp. (DML.TO) mining assets and operations located in the US in exchange for 425.44 million of its common shares.

In economic news, Statistics Canada said manufacturing sales edged down 0.3 percent to $49.1 billion in February, following a 1.3 percent decrease in January. Lower sales in the motor vehicle assembly, food, and motor vehicle parts industries were mostly offset by increases in the aerospace product and parts, non-metallic mineral products, and petroleum and coal products industries.

Separately, the agency said the number of new motor vehicles sold in February declined 6.7 percent to 141,589 units, partially offsetting January's gain. Passenger car sales in February decreased 8.3 percent, partially offsetting gains in January. Sales of North American-built passenger cars accounted for most of the decline, falling 10.9 percent.

From the U.S., the Commerce Department said new privately-owned housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000, a 5.8 percent drop from February levels. Additionally the February figures were revised down slightly from the 698,000 rate initially reported to 694,000. The March rate of new housing starts comes in well below the expectations of most economists, who had predicted a slight uptick to a rate of 700,000.

Elsewhere, euro zone annual inflation for March was revised up to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent, final data from Eurostat showed. The rate was 2.7 percent in February. Inflation continues to stay above the European Central Bank's 'below, but close to 2 percent' target.

Meanwhile, the Mannheim-based Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) said Germany's economic sentiment improved for the fifth straight month in April The indicator of economic sentiment rose to 23.4 in April from 22.3 in March. Economists had expected the index to fall to 19.

by RTT Staff Writer

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