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Bay Street Headed For Flat Start

Canadian shares are likely to open flat on Thursday due to concerns about global economy after the latest industrial output data from China, and continued uncertainty about U.S.-China trade talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and insisted that any deal include protection for intellectual property.

On Wednesday, the Canadian benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 13.31 points, or 0.08%, at 16,149.97, after rising to 16,212.56 in early trades.

In company news, Premium Brands Holdings Corporation (PBH.TO) said its adjusted earnings per share increased by 12.3% to $3.74 per share in the fourth quarter, compared to the corresponding quarter in 2017.

Medical Facilities Corporation (DR.TO) reported fourth quarter net income of $19.9 million, an increase of 13.7% over its net income in the year-ago quarter. Earnings per basic share was up 20.6% at $0.27 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd. (TWM.TO) reported net income of $13.3 million or $0.04 per share for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $0.5 million or $0.00 per share for the fourth quarter of 2017.

Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday on disappointing industrial production data out of China and amid continued uncertainty about Brexit.

Chinese data signaled further weakness in the world's second biggest economy but at the same time raised hopes for more policy support.

China's industrial output grew an annual 5.3% in the first two months of 2019, a government report showed. This marked the slowest pace of growth in 17 years and fell short of expectations for an increase of 5.5%.

European stocks were moving higher as Brexit-related worries eased and investors took mixed data from China in their stride.

British MPs will vote today on delaying Brexit after they rejected the idea of leaving the EU without a deal.

In commodities, crude oil futures for April were little changed at $58.28 a barrel.

Gold futures for April were declining $12.00, or 0.91%, at $1,297.30 an ounce.

Silver futures for May were declining $0.221, or 1.43%, at $15.235 an ounce, while Copper futures for May were down $0.0500, or 1.7%, at $2.8855 per pound.

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