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Bay Street May Open Flat Or Slightly Higher

Slightly higher futures point to a flat or marginally positive opening for Canadian shares on Wednesday. However, growth concerns and uncertainty about the U.S. and China striking a long term trade plan within the 90-day truce on trade war may hurt sentiment.

The market will react to the central bank's interest rate decision, due at 10 AM ET. Bank of Canada is widely expected to hold its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75%. In October, the bank had raised interest rate by 25 basis points.

Sluggish commodity prices may prove a dampener for gold and energy stocks.

On Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 211.39 points, or 1.38%, at 15,063.59, slightly off the day's low of 15,047.06.

In company news, National Bank of Canada reported an 8% increase in fourth quarter net profit, at $566 million, compared to year-ago quarter. The bank also announced that its Board has declared an increase in dividend of 3 cents per common share to C$0.65 per common share for the quarter ending January 31, 2019, up 5% from the previous quarter.

Thomson Reuters Corp. (TRI.TO) announced the company plans FTE, or full time employees, reduction of approximately 12% by 2020. The company said it also plans to reduce its locations by approximately 30% and to grow its organic revenues 3.5% - 4.5% by 2020. Thomson Reuters is hosting its 2018 Investor Day in Toronto today.

Roots Corporation (ROOT.TO) reported adjusted EBITDA of $10.2 million for the third quarter of current financial year, down 37.4% from $16.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Basic Earnings Per Share was down 42% at $0.07, compared to $0.12 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Hudson's Bay Company (HBC.TO) reported net loss of $124 million for the third quarter, compared to net loss of $116 million in the prior year.

Asian markets ended weak on Wednesday amid worries about trade and economic growth. Traders were also skeptical around the Trump-Xi agreement announced over the weekend.

Despite encouraging services data, the Chinese market drifted lower. According to a survey from Caixin, the services sector in China continued to expand in November, and at an accelerated rate. The PMI came with a score of 53.8 for the month, substantially higher than the expected score of 50.8.

European markets were declining sharply, hitting near two-week lows, as trade and growth worries sapped investors' appetite for risk.

Markets were also weighed down by Brexit uncertainty after Theresa May's government suffered three successive defeats in the British Parliament on Tuesday.

In economic news from Europe, Markit reported that its Eurozone PMI composite output index fell to 52.7 in November from October's 53.1. U.K. service sector PMI slumped to the weakest since the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The U.S. markets are closed on Wednesday are closed in observance of a national day of mourning for former President George H.W. Bush, who died on November 30, at the age of 94.

On Tuesday, stocks tanked on Wall Street as the initial euphoria generated by a truce between the U.S. and China over trade evaporated and an inverted yield curve in bond markets signaled an economic slowdown. The Dow plunged 3.1%, the Nasdaq ended 3.8% down and the S&P 500 declined by 3.2%.

In commodities, crude oil futures were little changed at $53.27 a barrel.

Gold futures for February were declining by $3.70, or 0.3%, at $1,242.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for March were down $0.082, or 0.55%, at $14.558 an ounce, while Copper futures for March were up $0.003, or 0.11%, at $2.761 per pound.

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