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TSX Poised For Mixed Open - Canadian Commentary

4/18/2012 8:53 AM ET

Canadian stocks are poised for a mixed open Wednesday amid faltering commodities and a batch of major acquisition deal. Cues from the global markets were mixed. While most Asian markets ended higher overnight, European shares were lingering in the red as bad loan problems at Spanish banks rekindled concerns over the debt situation in the region.

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

On Tuesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index snapped its 2-session losing streak to add 99.35 points or 0.82 percent to 12,136.94.

The price of crude oil was little changed Wednesday morning as traders await cues from the official inventories data from the EIA, due out later during the session. Analysts expect crude oil inventories to add 400,000 barrels and gasoline stocks to move up by 140,000 barrels last week. Crude for May eased $0.33 to $103.87 a barrel.

The price of gold was lingering below the $1,650-mark Wednesday morning amid a generally steady U.S. dollar. Gold for June delivery lost $8.20 to $1,642.90 an ounce.

In the Canadian M&A patch, convenience stores operator Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD_A.TO, ATD_B.TO) announced that it would acquire Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA for NOK 53 per share cash, valuing the latter at $2.8 billion. The offer represents a premium of 52.5 percent to the latest closing price of the Statoil Fuel & Retail shares

Pharmacy benefit management services provider SXC Health Solutions (SXC.TO) said it would acquire Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. (CHSI) in a cash and stock transaction valued at about $4.4 billion. Catalyst shareholders would receive $28.00 cash and 0.6606 SXC shares for each Catalyst share, impling a purchase price of $81.02 per Catalyst share and a premium of nearly 28 percent based on the closing stock prices of SXC and Catalyst on April 17, 2012.

In other corporate news from Canada, food and pharmaceutical company METRO Inc. (MRU.TO) posted second-quarter net earnings of C$96.1 million or C$0.94 per share, higher than last year's C$85.7 million or C$0.82 per share.

Base-metals miner Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) announced that it would proceed with a rights offering to holders of common shares of Ivanhoe Mines to raise up to approximately $1.8 billion in gross proceeds as part of a memorandum of agreement with majority shareholder Rio Tinto.

In economic news, the euro zone current account unexpectedly logged a seasonally adjusted deficit of EUR 1.3 billion in February, the European Central Bank said. Economists were expecting the surplus to fall to EUR 2 billion from EUR 3.7 billion surplus seen in January.

by RTT Staff Writer

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