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Bay Street Likely To Open Higher; BoC Rate Decision, Economic Outlook In Focus

Canadian shares look headed for a positive start Wednesday morning, tracking firm commodity prices and on optimism about additional stimulus in the U.S.

Investors hope incoming U.S. President Joe Biden, who is set to be sworn into office today, will likely announce more stimulus in the very near future.

The Bank of Canada is scheduled to announce its rate decision at 10 AM ET. It is widely expected to hold its policy rate at 0.25%.

The central bank's accompanying statement about the outlook for the economy is expected to significantly impact price movements in today's session.

Canada's inflation reading for the month of December 2020 is also due out this morning.

The Canadian market ended marginally higher on Tuesday thanks to strong gains in energy, technology and healthcare sections. The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which fell to 17,916.79 after hitting a high of 18,023.29 at the start, ended the session with a gain of 12.49 points or 0.07% at 17,957.37.

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (WFT.TO) and Norbord Inc. (OSB.TO) have jointly announced that the shareholders of each of West Fraser and Norbord have approved all resolutions relating to West Fraser's acquisition of all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Norbord.

SSR Mining Inc. (SSRM.TO) announced that the company's four operating assets produced approximately 711,000 gold-equivalent ounces in 2020, delivering strong fourth quarter performance of approximately 220,000 gold-equivalent ounces. The company added that it expects to produce, on a consolidated basis, 720,000 to 800,000 gold-equivalent ounces in 2021.

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday after U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen backed major fiscal stimulus to help workers and businesses battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

European stocks are slightly higher on the back of a slew of positive earnings releases and new U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's pledge to "act big" on stimulus to reinvigorate the world's largest economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February are up $0.62 or 1.16% at $53.60 a barrel.

Gold futures are rising $6.50 or 0.35% at $1,846.70 an ounce, while Silver futures are up $0.050 or 0.2% at $25.370 an ounce.

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