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Canadian Stocks Set For Sluggish Open -- Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks remain on the defensive Wednesday morning despite a modest advance in the previous session.

The TSX Composite Index inched higher Tuesday, but buying interest was relatively subdued after a recent downtrend took the index to its lowest in months.

The Canadian market has seen less volatility that U.S. stocks this week. Monday's plunge for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the worst single-day point drop in history.

The DJIA nearly halved its losses yesterday with a nice rebound, but Canadian stocks were stuck in neutral as crude oil prices continued to move lower.

WTI light sweet oil was down 20 cents at $63.10 a barrel, having tumbled from a 4-year high near $66 over the past week.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has called on his OPEC counterparts to join him for the creation of a common cryptocurrency mechanism for the oil cartel.

Looking at corporate headlines, Canaccord Genuity (CF.TO) reported strong third quarter results on gains from investments in marijuana and cryptocurrencies.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) says it will incur a pre-tax charge of $429-million in its upcoming fourth-quarter due to its Pascua-Lama project.

In economic news, Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion in building permits in December, up 4.8% following a 7.3% decline in November. The December increase stemmed from higher construction intentions in the residential sector.

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