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TSX Poised For Mixed Open - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks are poised for a mixed open amid varied cues from the commodities and global equity markets. While Asian markets ended mixed overnight, European shares were in the green on earnings optimism after Apple reported earnings that came in above consensus estimates.

Traders may turn cautious during the course of the session as they likely to closely track the Federal Open Market Committee's post-meeting policy statement, updated forecasts from the central bank and Chairman Ben Bernanke's press briefing.

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a marginally higher open on earnings optimism.

On Tuesday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index extended losses for a third session, easing 8.85 points or 0/07 percent to 11,980.10.

The price of crude oil was moving higher Wednesday morning as traders await cues from the weekly crude oil inventories report from the Energy Information Administration. Today during trading hours, the EIA will come out with its US crude oil inventories report for the weekended April 20. Analysts expect crude oil inventories to add 1.50 million barrels, while gasoline stocks are seen dipping by 500,000 barrels last week. Crude for June was up $0.25 to $103.80 a barrel.

The price of gold was flat Wednesday morning even as the US dollar eased ahead of Federal Open Market Committee's post-meeting policy statement. Gold for June edged up $0.20 to $1,644.00 an ounce.

In corporate news from Canada, natural gas firm Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) posted first-quarter net earnings of $12 million or $0.02 per share, as against a loss of $361 million last year. Operating earnings were $240 million or $0.33 per share up from $218 million or $0.30 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Communications and media company Rogers Communications (RCI, RCI_A.TO, RCI_B.TO) reported a lower first-quarter net income of C$305 million or C$0.57 per share compared to C$335 million or C$0.60 per share in the same quarter last year. Adjusted earnings per share declined to C$0.67 from C$0.76 last year. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.76 per share for the quarter.

IT and business processing services provider CGI Group Inc. (GIB_A.TO) reported a lower second quarter net earnings of C$105.7 million or C$0.40 per share compared to C$118.7 million or C$0.43 per share in the same quarter last year. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.41 per share for the quarter.

In economic news from south of the border, according to the U.S. Commerce Department advance estimates of new durable goods orders for the month came in at $202.6 billion, a 4.2 percent decrease from February levels, marking the largest monthly decline since January 2009. Most economists had predicted durable goods orders to fall from February levels but the market generally expected a much less severe drop of around 1.5 percent.

From the euro zone, the U.K. economy unexpectedly contracted for the second straight time in the first quarter, the Office for National Statistics showed today. Gross domestic product dropped 0.2 percent sequentially, while economists were forecasting a 0.1 percent expansion. That follows a 0.3 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2011.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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