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Bay Street Skittish As BoC Preps Rate Hike -- Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks inched higher Friday despite speculation the Bank of Canada will raise interest rates next week.

TD Bank and RBC raised their lending rates today in anticpation of a move by the BoC on Wednesday.

The TSX Composite Index was up 21.24 points to 16,308.18. Rising commodity prices helped keep the TSX near recent record highs.

Tim Hortons, owned by Restaurant Brands (QSR.TO) raised prices on numerous breakfast yummies, a few days after coming under fire for how it treats workers after minimum wage hikes.

Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) updated its guidance for the fourth quarter and full year 2017 in part to reflect the timing of certain utility-scale solar project sales. The company now expects fourth-quarter total revenue to be in the range of $1.04 billion to $1.08 billion, compared to $1.77 billion to $1.81 billion guided previously.

Ortho Dermatologics, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX, VRX.TO), said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted the New Drug Application for IDP-121 (tretinoin 0.05%) lotion (ALTRENO1) with a PDUFA action date of Aug. 27, 2018 for acne treatment. Shares slipped fractionally.

Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF, SLF.TO) said that as a result of the recent U.S. tax legislation, it expects the tax expense included in its 2018 underlying net income to decrease by approximately $130 million and also expects to incur a charge of $200 million to its net income in the fourth quarter. Shares rose fractionally.

Toronto's stock exchange is reportedly out of the running for the coveted Aramco IPO. The Saudi state oil company is expected to debut this year.

Crude oil futures rose Friday, ending the week at the highest level in more than three years.

Baker Hughes said U.S. energy companies added 10 oil rigs this week, the biggest increase since June, in response the the rally in oil prices. It the first weekly rise in five weeks.

Feb. WTI oil rose 50 cents, or 0.8%, to settle $64.30/bbl. Prices rose every day this week, and were up 5.7%.

U.S. consumer prices rose by less than expected in December, reflecting a sharp pullback in energy prices.

The consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in December after climbing by 0.4 in November. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

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