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Signs Point To Positive Open On Bay Street-- Canadian Commentary

Bay Street is set for a positive start Monday with better than expected Canadian GDP data triggering some buying in early trade.

Prospects for some lighter monetary policy from the European Central Bank following a drop in eurozone inflation, Chinese stimulus talks and a fairly steady trend in global markets are also expected to aid sentiment.

On Friday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 0.58 percent to 14,260.72, but still lost nearly a percent for the week.

With crude oil prices wobbling in a tight range, energy stocks are likely to turn in a mixed performance.

In corporate news, Encana Corp.'s (ECA.TO) unit, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., has inked an agreement with an affiliate of TPG Capital to sell certain natural gas properties in the Jonah field in Sublette County, Wyoming, for around $1.8 billion.

Nordion Inc. (NDN.TO) announced on Friday that it has agreed to be bought by Sterigenics, a provider of sterilization services and a portfolio company of private equity firm GTCR LLC, in a deal valued at US$727 million.

Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. (KGI.TO) has announced that its board has elected to end the strategic review process that was announced on January 6, 2014. Although the strategic review process has been formally terminated, the Board will continue to review opportunities to enhance value.

Martinrea International Inc. (MRE.TO) announced Monday that Nick Orlando will be stepping down as the company's President and Chief Executive Officer, effective date to be determined.

Crude oil prices for May are down $0.09 or 0.09 percent at $101.58 a barrel.

Meanwhile, Natural Gas for May is down $0.026 or 0.58 percent at $4.459 per million btu.

Gold futures for June delivery are down $2.00 or 0.15 percent at $1,292.30, not far from a six-week low of $1,285.34 hit on Friday.

Silver for May delivery is up $0.093 or 0.47 percent at $19.883 an ounce, after having declined to $19.743 an ounce earlier in the session. Silver had dropped down to a seven-week low of $19.580 an ounce last Thursday.

Meanwhile, copper is down $0.012 or 0.39 percent at $3.030 per pound.

In economic news, Canadian economy grew by a more than expected 0.5 percent in January, Statistics Canada said. Economists had estimated the economy to see a 0.3 percent growth in January, following a 0.5 percent decline in December.

Following the release of Canada gross domestic product data for January, the loonie strengthened against other major currencies. The loonie was trading at 1.1016 against the greenback, 1.5194 against the euro, 1.0177 against the aussie and 93.76 against the yen.

Investors will be looking ahead to the MNI Indicators' survey on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region at 9:45 am ET. Economists expect the Chicago business barometer to slip to 59 in March from 59.8 in February.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is due to speak to the community reinvestment conference in Chicago at 9:55 am ET.

Eurozone inflation slowed more-than-expected to a 52-month low in March, declining to 0.5 percent, from 0.7 percent in February.

Asian stocks mostly ended higher amid hopes of stimulus announcements from the central banks in China and Japan. Major European markets are trading mixed, reacting to the latest batch of economic data from euro zone.

by RTT Staff Writer

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