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Bay Street May Open With Negative Bias

Canadian shares are likely to open with a slightly negative bias on Monday, amid lingering worries about the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the global economy.

The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced concern over the spread from people with no travel history to China, saying "we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg."

Lower crude oil prices may also weigh on sentiment. Fairly strong housing starts and building permits data may help limit market's decline.

In economic news, data released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation showed the seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts in Canada rose 8.8% to 213,224 units in January 2020 from a month earlier.

According to a report from Statistics Canada, the value of building permits in Canada increased 7.4% from a month earlier to C$ 8.7 billion in December 2019, rebounding from an upwardly revised 3.5% decline in the previous month and above market forecasts of a 2.3% gain.

On Friday, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which was down in negative territory right through the session, ended down 102 points, or 0.57%, at 17,655.49, off the day's low of 17,632.99.

In company news, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.B.TO) said that its President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Hannasch plans to exercise 225,000 stock options of Class B subordinated voting shares.

Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO) reported adjusted net earnings of $351 million or 75 cents per share for the third quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to $318 million or 68 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Asian stocks fell broadly on Monday as worries about coronavirus outweighed the boost from strong U.S. employment data.

With the virus outbreak showing no signs of slowing, the head of the World Health Organization has warned about the potential for more cases beyond China.

Chinese shares advanced as authorities lifted some work and travel restrictions, helping businesses to resume operations after long delays.

European stocks are edging lower amid rising concerns over the severity of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 40,600 people globally.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March are down $0.14, or 0.28%, at $50.18 a barrel.

Gold futures for April are rising $3.50, or 0.23%, at $1,576.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for March are gaining $0.093, or 0.53%, at $17.785 an ounce, while Copper futures for March are up $0.0065, or 0.25%, at $2.5595 per pound.

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